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The food security of Inuit women in Arviat, Nunavut: the role of socio-economic factors and climate change

  • Maude C. Beaumier (a1), James D. Ford (a1) and Shirley Tagalik (a2)
Abstract

Climate change has been identified as compromising food security in many case studies with Inuit communities in Canada. Largely neglected in the scholarship however, is research focusing on the gendered dimensions of Inuit food security in a changing climate. This paper reports on a community based participatory research project involving semi-structured interviews with Inuit women (n = 42), 10 focus groups (n = 40), key informant interviews (n = 8), and participant observation, to identify and characterise the determinants of food security among Inuit females in the community of Arviat, and examine the role played by climate and climate change. Results indicate that significant changes in climate being observed are not currently affecting female food security, with socio-economic-cultural factors primary determinants of food security. The nature of the traditional food system in Arviat based on harvesting land mammals reduces sensitivity to changing sea ice conditions which have been problematic in other Inuit communities. However, dependence on a limited number of animals for diet (primarily caribou, arctic char) increases sensitivity to potential future disruptions caused by climate change to these species and reduces response diversity as a coping mechanism.

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