Arctic Rivers Community 1Rather than asking what will happen, which we can’t answer with confidence, storylines, or narratives, allow us to ask what would be the effect of different policy or adaptation measures across a range of possible futures. More relevant to society than the “probabilistic” approach. (Shepard et al. 2019). 

The storylines approach will merge advanced climate modeling with western and Indigenous scientific observations and knowledge to assess how permafrost, groundwater, and river conditions may respond to future climate scenarios, and how the changes may impact local and regional fisheries, river ice, and communities. We will document traditional and experiential accounts of impactful historical events, seasons, or years, in the context of climate impacts on Arctic river, fish, and communities. Thus, we propose to identify vulnerabilities of fish and river ice through Indigenous observations and knowledge using semistructured interviews and participatory mapping designed to complement modeling and aid the development of climate change storylines. Interviews will be conducted by Indigenous students in self-selected villages as expressed during the Arctic Rivers Summit and/or engagement calls. Interview respondents will be chosen by Tribal Councils and First Nation governments representing participating communities and will be confined to elders (as defined by Tribes) and experts on fish and fish habitat, the river, river ice, and transportation corridors. Experts are defined as community members that have been active subsistence hunters and fishers in their community for at least ten years.

To create storylines we will engage in: 

  • Mapping: Locations of vulnerable fish habitat; Locations of open leads in the ice 
  • Interviews: Observations of change; Knowledge of the environment; Knowledge of fish habitatArctic Rivers Community 2

To complete this work, we are currently forming a Indigenous Advisory Council – an advisory panel of indigenous representatives to ensure equitable co-production of knowledge.