indigenous peoples and local communities to adapt practices to changes in environmental and social conditions over time
Climate change is one of the most significant changes of the past and future that has shown the ability indigenous peoples to adapt their practices appropriately.
The ancestors of modern Inuit (known to them as the Tuniit) emigrated from Asia during a period of climatic warming. They moved and successfully occupied all of Arctic North America from Alaska to Greenland, displacing or absorbing the Dorset people as they moved. They adapted to completely new geographic areas during a period of climatic change.
Late in that warming period, the Norse also occupied southern Greenland. Then during the Little Ice Age, the Inuit moved into southern Greenland, while the technologically advance, farming Norse could not adapt and disappeared.
The Inuit of the Belcher Islands adapted to the disappearance of native caribou in the late 1800s (possibly caused by icing or heavy hunting by explorers), creating a unique winter clothing based on fragile eider skins.
The Polar Inuit of Qaanaaq, Greenland survived perhaps 100s of years of isolation, and lost and adapted technology, until the Inuit expedition led by an angnakuk (shaman) from Baffin Island introduced several advance in Inuit technology in the 1800s.
If the indigenous peoples can be allowed to adapt to future challenges on their own terms, then there is no reason to believe that they would do a poorer job of it than any western peoples.
posted on 2009-03-10 05:27 UTC by Dr. Michael Ferguson, NordEco