Scientists have spent the past few decades catching up to traditional knowledge, documenting scientifically what whale hunters already knew. Like the fact that the whales can smell, and that they can travel under sea ice.
Alaska’s summer may have seemed cold. And it was, compared to the previous few. But it was actually still significantly warmer than the previous three decades. Rick Thoman, who’s retiring from his job as a federal climatologist, talks about how sometimes our brains can tell us different things than the data.
The company’s owner, Kunniak Hopson, moved to Chugiak 11 years ago from Utqiaġvik, which she calls Barrow. When she was growing up, her family always put McCormick’s Salt ‘n Spice on maktak, which is frozen whale blubber and skin. But McCormick’s stopped making it and she had to find an alternative.
Reindeer herding is an increasingly attractive economic option for communities in the Norton Sound region. As winter sea-ice cover becomes more unreliable, the traditional practice of hunting for marine mammals is more dangerous.