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Food Security and Sovereignty Problems among the Inupiat in Utqiagvik, Alaska, USA
Human beings need food for life. However, food varies among cultures and , regions , as well as from time to time. This paper concerns contemporary food security and sovereignty problems of Indigenous people, as exemplified by the Inupiat of Alaska. For approximately the last 1000 years, Bowhead whale hunts, their related festivals and feasts, sharing and consumption of whale products have been a mainstay of Inupiat life. Nowadays, they conduct whale hunts as Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling under the International Whaling Commission (IWC), to obtain and consume whale meat, skin with blubber, and other edible parts, as culturally important and symbolic food. However, their whaling is now menaced by climate change, oil and gas development under the warming climate, shipping on the Northwest and Northeast Passages along the Arctic Ocean, and anti-whaling activities by animal protection and pro-environment NGOs, among other things. This paper discusses contemporary Indigenous food security and sovereignty problems in Alaska, USA, after demonstrating the socio-cultural significance of whaling and whale products among the Inupiat in Utqiagvik, Alaska.