When faced with a species that is seldom encountered or discussed, can local or indigenous people piece together their accumulated experience to make inferences about the ecology of that species? In this paper the Greenland shark acts as a model to study how the Inuit of southern Baffin Island are able to produce ecological knowledge. We examine experiential information, reflections, variations in knowledge, and sense-making related to the Greenland Shark, and present a knowledge co-production process based on heuristic reasoning. The process of knowledge co-production has similarities to fuzzy logic, and highlights the adaptability and versatility of indigenous knowledge systems to generate new understandings about the species and its role in the Arctic marine environment. Interactions between the Inuit and researchers can provide a forum to facilitate knowledge co-production, and can be used as a strategy to engage the Indigenous and traditional peoples in resource management and conservation.
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We thank the people of Pangnirtung for their contributions to the research and for opening the doors of their world. In particular, we are indebted to the late Noah and Alukie Metuq for home stay, Jaco Ishulutaq and the late Joeelee Papatsie for their teachings during hunting and fishing trips, and Andrew John Dialla for translation and acting as community liaison. C.J. Idrobo’s work was supported by a Manitoba Graduate Scholarship; the International Polar Year (IPY) program through a grant to Dr. Aaron Fisk, PI; and the Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Community-based Resource Management. F. Berkes’ work has been supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and the Canada Research Chairs program (http://www.chairs.gc.ca).
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Idrobo, C.J., Berkes, F. Pangnirtung Inuit and the Greenland Shark: Co-producing Knowledge of a Little Discussed Species. Hum Ecol 40, 405–414 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10745-012-9490-7