STEPHEN GORMAN
Arctic Climate Change, Nature, and Indigenous Culture Photography

"Take a Good Look"

In 1900 the naturalist George Bird Grinnell took the young photographer and ethnographer Edward S. Curtis to the high plains of Montana to witness the last great Plains Indian Sun Dance. As he photographed the magnificent event that would never be seen again, Curtis listened carefully to the words Grinnell spoke to him that day:

"Take a good look. We're not going to see this kind of thing much longer. It already belongs to the past."

Today humanity faces potentially devastating social and environmental crises that are inextricably linked. Traditional ecological knowledge presents an alternative view of the natural world, together with a different concept of humanity’s proper role in the environment.

Traditional ecological knowledge has the potential to help modern industrial society solve these crises. Opportunities for the integration of traditional ecological knowledge and modern science to work together and co-develop strategies need to be identified while there is still time.

The window of opportunity to learn, record, and benefit from traditional ecological knowledge is closing fast. Each day members of the older generation pass away and their wisdom passes with them. 

Inuit Elder Building an Igloo on the Winter Trail, Nunavik, Canadian Arctic

 

"Take a good look"

In 1900 the naturalist George Bird Grinnell took the young photographer and ethnographer Edward S. Curtis to the high plains of Montana to witness the last great Plains Indian Sun Dance. As he photographed the magnificent event that would never be seen again, Curtis listened carefully to the words Grinnell spoke to him that day:

"Take a good look. We're not going to see this kind of thing much longer. It already belongs to the past."

Today humanity faces potentially devastating social and environmental crises that are inextricably linked. Traditional ecological knowledge presents an alternative view of the natural world, together with a different concept of humanity’s proper role in the environment.

Traditional ecological knowledge has the potential to help modern industrial society solve these crises. Opportunities for the integration of traditional ecological knowledge and modern science to work together and co-develop strategies need to be identified while there is still time.