Sunday, September 11, 2011

In Greenland, lives are altered with the weather

The old hunter was troubled by the foreigners encroaching on his Inuit people's frozen lands.

"The Inuit say that they are going to heat the 'siku' (the sea ice) to make it melt. There will be almost no more winter," the elder says of the southerners in Jean Malaurie's "Last Kings of Thule," the French explorer's classic account of a year in the Arctic.

The year was 1951. A lifetime later, another Inuit hunter looks out at Disko Bay from this island's rocky fringe and remembers driving his dogsled team over the solid glitter of the siku all the way to Ilulissat, a town 50 miles across the water.

"The ice then was 1 to 2 meters thick," Jakob Jensen, 65, recalled of those winters past.

"Now it's a few centimeters. It's very thin and you can't go on dogsled." more