96.1 FM, 780 AM, Yours for Western Alaska

Kawerak Mapping Hunters and Elders’ Knowledge

With sea ice receding and shipping traffic on the rise, maritime organizations have begun developing policies to regulate shipping and development in the Bering Straits. Many in the region are concerned. They fear those policies will ignore subsistence hunters’ needs. Kawerak is doing something about it.

Kawerak is compiling traditional knowledge of walrus and seal habitats. The Social Sciences division is partnering with OCEANA, an environmental non-profit, to develop an atlas of the region’s seal and walrus habitats—a communications tool for tribes that want to participate in the policy making process.

Lily Ray Gadamus, a social scientist at Kawerak, and her assistant, Freida Moon-Kimotkoak, hope the atlas will help tribes work with policymakers when they want to comment on shipping routes or proposed developments.

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