Published on 12th October 2017

Chasing Winter

  • The retreating Herbert Glacier near Juneau, Alaska. July 14, 2014

  • A family hunting bearded seals instead encounters hundreds of walruses, a rare sight so early in the year and believed to be caused by warmer weather shifting the marine mammals's migration patterns. The rapid loss of Arctic sea ice has caused dense aggregations of walruses to congregate on land, triggering stampedes that can kill the young. June 25, 2015.

  • A family hunting bearded seals instead harvest a walrus after unexpectedly encountering hundreds of the marine mammal- a rare sight so early in the year, and believed to be caused by warmer weather shifting the marine mammals's migration patterns. This unpredictability is making it harder, and more important for families to teach the younger generation traditional hunting skills and preservation techniques. June 25, 2015.

  • A boy returns to town in Barrow, Alaska after hunting bearded seals by boat. Hunting is an important right of passage for the Inupiat families of the Alaskan Arctic, especially now as these traditions are at even greater risk of disappearing because of climate change. June 27, 2015.

  • A family hunting bearded seals instead harvest a walrus after unexpectedly encountering hundreds of the marine mammal- a rare sight so early in the year, and believed to be caused by warmer weather shifting the marine mammals's migration patterns. The rapid loss of Arctic sea ice has caused dense aggregations of walruses to congregate on land, triggering stampedes that can kill the young. June 25, 2015.

  • Iñupiat harpooner Quincy Adams surveys the horizon in a sealskin canoe for bowhead whales, miles from the Alaskan town of Barrow. The snow wall was built by the whaling crew to conceal the camp from their prey. Shifting sea ice has made whaling increasingly dangerous, and many native villages have begun to experience food shortages. April 18, 2016.

  • A crew catches a bowhead whale during spring whaling in Barrow, Alaska. Almost the entire village of Barrow participates in the annual spring whale hunt in some way, either as part of a whaling crew or assisting the massive effort of butchering, transporting and processing the thousand pound mammal. One whale will feed the community for the entire year to come, but this ancient practice is threatened by melting sea ice and climate change. May 5, 2016

  • A young girl fishes for sheepish and pike on the frozen Kotzebue Sound in Kotzebue, Alaska. May 8, 2015.

  • A large fifty foot bowhead whale is caught during spring whaling in Barrow, Alaska. Almost the entire village of Barrow participates in the annual spring whale hunt in some way, either as part of a whaling crew or assisting the massive effort of butchering, transporting and processing the thousand pound mammal. One whale will feed the community for the entire year to come, but this ancient practice is threatened by melting sea ice and climate change. Butchering this whale eventually took 36 hours. May 5, 2016

  • Vebjørn Aishana Reitan prepares to hunt caribou in Kaktovik, Alaska. October 18, 2015.

  • A cemetery for whaling captains in Point Hope, Alaska, the oldest continually inhabited community in North America. May 8, 2015.

  • Robert Brower Jr., a member of a whaling crew, shows off a flayed polar bear skull. The bear was shot the day before when it tried to eat the crew’s sealskin canoe. Barrow, Alaska. April 19, 2015.

  • A teenage polar bear in Kaktovik, Alaska is curious about a vehicle. In late summer and early fall polar bears flock to the native village of Kaktovik to eat at "the boneyard"- the remains of whales annually hunted by the community. Polar bears have grown increasingly hungry as melting sea ice affects their ability to hunt seals on the arctic ocean ice sheet. More and more bears are coming into whaling villages like Kaktovik to feed off scraps and bones during their annual subsistence whale hunt. Young male bears are especially aggressive, and it's not uncommon for villagers to kill the bears to protect themselves or their food. Melting sea ice caused by climate change has not only changed the migration and diet of the bears, but put them at new risks. While hunting polar bears is legal for the Inupiat in Alaska, it is still controversial, especially with the new steady stream of tourists, scientists, and other outsiders drawn to these native villages by the polar bears. October 17, 2015.

  • Barrow, Alaska, the northernmost town on the American continent which is also considered "ground zero" for climate change. October 16, 2015.

  • Flying into Point Hope, Alaska after an abnormally fast spring thaw. June 14, 2015.

  • The remains of the beluga whale harvest in Point Lay, Alaska, a tiny, isolated Inupiat village with a population of 250 on the Chukchi Sea. An estimated 35,000 endangered animals lumbered out of the sea and congregated on shore, a change in long-term behavior patterns that has been linked shrinking Arctic sea ice related to climate change. June 23, 2015.

  • A woman processes beluga whale after days of harvesting the food source in Point Lay, Alaska, a tiny, isolated Inupiat village with a population of 250 on the Chukchi Sea. An estimated 35,000 endangered animals lumbered out of the sea and congregated on shore, a change in long-term behavior patterns that has been linked shrinking Arctic sea ice related to climate change. June 23, 2015.

  • The Jones family celebrates catching a whale with a feast for the village in their home in Barrow, Alaska. May 8, 2016.

  • The family of a whaling captain during the annual whaling feast in Point Hope, Alaska. June 17, 2015.

  • The traditional blanket toss at the annual whaling feast in Point Hope, Alaska. For the Inupiat villagers of Point Hope Nothing is more important than the bowhead whale. The calendar year revolves around hunting, fishing and gathering, a lifestyle Alaskans call “subsistence,” which is as much cultural tradition as economic necessity. The entire village looks forward to spring whaling, and celebrates a successful hunt with an annual feast. June 16, 2015.

Chasing Winter

Social Issues, Contemporary Issues, Nature & Environment

Tagged with:
  • climate change
  • arctic
  • alaska
  • indigenous
  • inupiat