Inuit Qaujisarnirmut Pilirijjutit on Arctic Shipping Risks in Inuit Nunangat

Diminishing sea ice due to climate change is making the Arctic Ocean more accessible. As a result, marine shipping within
Inuit Nunangat waters is expected to increase dramatically in coming years as natural resources and shorter transit routes
between Asia, Europe and North America are exploited. While the shipping industry plays a pivotal role in supporting the
economy across Inuit Nunangat, increased Arctic shipping brings various threats to natural and cultural heritage in the

These threats, which have wide-ranging consequences for the health, well-being and livelihoods of Inuit
communities, need to be assessed and mitigated. This project has been co-designed in direct response to these
challenges by several Inuit organizations, Inuit communities, and academics in Canada and the UK. A combination of
methods, including risk mapping, modelling of existing data, community youth training and knowledge documentation
workshops, and ships of opportunity, will be used to address five main research activities designed to identify and assess
practical solutions for the anticipated increase in shipping across Inuit Nunangat. The project is intentionally designed to reflect Inuit social values, Inuit Qaujisarnirmut (knowledge), and the principle of
Piliriqatigiingniq, which is broadly defined as the process of respectful coming together and use of every resource, network,
technology, and process available, in order to arrive at the best possible collaborative solution to a challenge. We will
employ the Aajiiqatigiingniq Research Methodology (ARM), which is rooted in Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit and Inuit-specific
methods for knowledge-building and meaning-making to build agreement together through group processes that are
inclusive and participatory. This process enables Inuit to define what is known and collectively understood about an issue
and facilitates a format for Inuit to gather, review and analyse information (e.g. scientific data, Inuit knowledge) as it is
gathered (regardless of method used) to iteratively determine the relevance and impacts of new information on what is
already known/understood. The project, guided by a wisdom committee, will involve scientists, community organizations, Inuit and Northern community
research associates and youth, local Inuit knowledge holders, and ship operators through a series of co-learning
workshops, sampling and analysis activities, and information/results sharing gatherings. We focus on five key activities that
reflect the agreed upon and co-developed research objectives and these include: Activity 1) analyses of past, present, and
projected future shipping traffic for Inuit Nunangat, Activity 2) investigation of underwater noise impacts on marine
mammals, hunting, and (country) food security, Activity 3) measurement of ship-source air and marine pollution, Activity 4)
evaluation of the introduction of non-indigenous species due to ship traffic, and Activity 5) the development of risks maps
that integrate outputs from Activities 1-4 and further identification of relevant risk mitigation techniques and self-determined
ocean government strategies that could deal with identified challenges. While conducting the research, we will rely on two
research platforms: community-based research and ships of opportunity. These complimentary approaches will allow us to
focus both on typically used shipping corridors and also to gather baseline data and comparative data between a
community that has historically experienced low levels of shipping activity (i.e., Arviat, Nunavut) and a community that has
experienced relatively high levels of shipping activity (i.e., Pond Inlet, Nunavut).

Grant reference
Natural Environment Research Council
Total awarded
£250,636 GBP
Start date
5 May 2022
2 years 11 months 30 days
End date
4 May 2025