Billy Day, Inuvialuit Elder
Richard Binder and Lois Harwood in Studio

Traditional Knowledge & Science

Whaling has been going on in the Western Arctic for many hundreds of years, maybe thousands, according to our stories, which were passed on orally from generation to generation.
-Billy Day, Inuvialuit elder (1930 - 2008)

For many years, the Inuvialuit have worked closely with government biologists in an effort to manage the Beaufort-Delta beluga whale population. During the annual beluga whaling season, Inuvialuit hunters and biologists from the Canadian government work together to ensure that the beluga population remains healthy and sustainable. Samples and measurements are taken from harvested belugas, and biologists use these samples to test for toxins in the whale meat and organs.

Traditional knowledge and scientific research are used to ensure that belugas will be available to future generations of Inuvialuit and will continue to thrive within Arctic marine ecosystems.

In the video and audio clips below, Inuvialuit hunter Richard Binder and biologist Lois Harwood discuss the collaboration between traditional knowledge and modern science, and how these two streams of expertise have successfully managed the Beaufort-Delta beluga whale population for decades.