This web page is designed to provide information about indigenous subsistence whaling in the Western Arctic in a historical context that extends from pre- European contact to the present. The focus is on traditional whaling practices of northern Alaskan communities and on the environmental conditions in which whaling has taken- and continues to take-place. This site is intended to provide information to a wide range of audiences including people living in the Arctic, students, the general public, and people conducting research in the North.
Much of the material on the site is a product of several years' work in which information about Arctic conditions and Arctic whaling has been gathered and discussed by academic researchers from many fields and local experts (see Contact Information). This ranges from historic to contemporary studies in whale biology, from long-range geological studies of coastal formation to current work on climatic conditions, from archaeological and oral historical accounts of whaling in the recent past to contemporary issues issues such as the responsibilities shared by men and women, the costs that whaling captains have in supporting their crew, or the very special decisions that have been demanded by recent fall whaling seasons. The project was sponsored by the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission and funded by the National Science Foundation (see Project). A final workshop in Anchorage, in March 2000, brought many of the participants together for an open-ended discussion not only of the results but of future research directions.
In addition, the site also provides links to Native whaling in Russian Chukotka and the Central and Eastern Arctic, links to a variety of sites about Yankee whaling as well as links to sites of other agencies, such as NOAA and the US Weather Bureau which may provide information of interest to site visitors.