Colorado State University Atmospheric Scientist to Host Inuit Elders Wednesday, Oct. 6, as Part of Weather Impacts Study

Note to Reporters: Because of limited space, reporters interested in covering the talk must RSVP to Emily Wilmsen no later than 5 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 5.

Glen Liston, senior research scientist at the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere at Colorado State University, on Wednesday will host six Inuit elders from the Eastern Canadian Arctic as part of an Arctic climate research study on how weather affects human activities.

The visitors will give a presentation, “Arctic Seasons: An Inuit Perspective,” on Wednesday Oct. 6 at 10:30 a.m. in the CIRA Director’s Conference Room. The program will highlight the Inuit visitors’ knowledge about the Arctic, and how local tools, clothing, food and transportation are continually adapting to the changing arctic.

Liston’s research study “Silalirijiit,” the Inuit word for “those who work with and think about weather,” aims to understand the knowledge exchange between the Inuit and scientists. Part of the goal is to help the elders learn about the university’s research and how scientists on the project conduct their work.

Liston has been working in the Arctic on projects related to snow, weather and environmental change since 1985. Liston studies how snow is distributed across various landscapes to more accurately predict how climate change occurs. He’s one of the few atmospheric scientists in the world who creates computer models to predict future climate changes and also trudges into the field to determine whether his models are on target.

Kangiqtugaapik (Clyde River), Nunavut, is located on the northeast coast of Baffin Island, in the Eastern Canadian Arctic. It has a population of about 800 people, 98 percent of whom are Inuit. The community maintains strong cultural traditions including a subsistence economy where many people still rely on “country food,” harvesting seals, whales, caribou, polar bear and fish. The landscape ranges from vast rolling tundra to dramatic fjords. Very close to Clyde River are the highest uninterrupted vertical cliffs in the world, which has been a ‘newly discovered’ destination for climbers and base-jumpers in recent years.

Visitors to Colorado State this week are:

• Joelie Sanguya grew up on the land and is an expert hunter and dog teamer. He has been instrumental in many key negotiations in Nunavut including the creation of a bowhead whale sanctuary near the community. He is owner of Piksuk Media, a film company, and has been the producer on a number of Inuit documentary films.

• Igah Sanguya, Joelie’s wife and an expert on the environment herself, is active in hunting, sewing and dog teaming. She also grew up on the land and now works at the local health center where she is the community health representative.

• Rosemary Sanguya, the daughter of Joelie and Igah, just graduated high school. She often travels on the land with her parents. She is involved in many activities and last year participated in a science program aboard an icebreaker that toured Nunavut.

• Raygee Palituq works at the local health center as a clerk and interpreter. She is an active hunter and spends a great deal of time on the land. She is also very active in the Canadian Rangers and local search-and-rescue group.

• Esa Qillaq is Raygee’s husband and an active hunter, often providing meat for other members of his extended family. He has significant experience as a hunter and guide.