WHO WE ARE
THE ARCTIC EIDER
The Arctic Eider Society / Société Des Eiders de l’Arctique (SEA~AES; pronounced ‘sea ice’) is a registered Canadian charity working with Inuit and Cree in East Hudson Bay to address environmental change and the cumulative impacts of development projects on sea ice ecosystems.
We develop meaningful relationships with communities, combining traditional knowledge with scientific research to address issues of local concern. We empower youth and hunters with the training, tools and technology they need to engage stakeholders and address the changes they are observing.
By connecting programs among communities and engaging the public and decision makers using innovative multimedia and communication strategies, we are turning knowledge into action for environmental justice issues in Hudson Bay.
Despite longstanding concerns raised by local Inuit about the influence of environmental change and development projects on sea ice habitats and wildlife, Hudson Bay remains a critical but particularly understudied region of the Arctic.
In response to new and proposed hydroelectric developments and large entrapments and die-offs of eider ducks in the early 1990’s, the Hudson Bay Program was formed in the community of Sanikiluaq, leading to Voices from the Bay, a unique synthesis of Inuit and Cree knowledge and concerns from 23 communities around Hudson Bay.
Studies of sea ice habitats and wildlife ecology in collaboration with Environment Canada began in the early 2000’s, developing meaningful relationships and a strong capacity for community based monitoring. This led to one of Canada’s largest and most successful training, education and outreach initiatives for International Polar Year (2007-2010), and production of our award winning film People of a Feather. As a legacy to these programs, we formalized the Arctic Eider Society as a registered Canadian charity in 2011. Since then, we’ve developed local capacity at home and travelled around the world sharing knowledge from Hudson Bay. With your help on our highly successful “Break the Ice” New York City campaign in 2013, we began an international dialogue on cumulative impacts of water management and energy distribution policies, and established steps to turn Knowledge from our community based research programs into Action for environmental justice in Hudson Bay.
Recently, we’ve formed the East Hudson Bay Network, expanding our community based programs from Sanikiluaq, Nunavut to include Inukjuaq, Umiuaq, Kuujjuaraapik and Chisasibi in northern Quebec, creating the capacity for large scale coordinated efforts to begin assessing cumulative impacts. Working closely with the Hudson Bay Inland Sea Initiative we are also establishing a research consortium and governance structure for Hudson Bay necessary to overcome the inter-jurisdictional challenges that have held back progress on addressing cumulative impacts and Inuit concerns to date.
With your help, we can continue this incredible momentum and finally begin to make progress on environmental justice issues in east Hudson Bay.
Eider down is the warmest feather in the world – nature’s technology for storing heat and surviving cold Arctic winters. As a critical source of food and clothing for Inuit on the Belcher Islands, the Eider Duck symbolizes the proverbial ‘canary in the coal mine’ for environmental change in Hudson Bay.
Our interdisciplinary programs consider many aspects of sea ice ecosystems, but it all got started with the Arctic Eider: our inspiration to address environmental issues affecting sea ice, to preserve Inuit culture and knowledge, and to seek solutions that work with nature’s innovation, such as storing and distributing hydroelectric energy in a way that works with the seasons of the hydrological cycle.