For indigenous peoples who live above the Arctic Circle, global warming by the 1990s had passed from the realm of theory into day-to-day reality. For peoples whose lives are entwined with natural processes, daily life by the turn of the Christian millennium pulsed with evidence that climate and life were changing swiftly, and sometimes dangerously.
Tim Johnson writes in Native Americas that indigenous peoples’ observations vis-à-vis global warming are dovetailing with a growing body of scientific evidence:
Now scientists are conducting an extensive array of studies in the north that support Native observations. This time a spirit of cooperation and collaboration is evolving between the Western-trained researcher and the Native-trained specialist. And this time, both are offering blunt assessments of the foreboding impacts of global warming. (Johnson 1999, 11)
Statements of Native American residents in the Arctic confirm observations of scientists on Ice Station SHEBA, who were surprised to observe unusually heavy rains during the warmer periods of their journey. Scientists who had worked decades in the Arctic said they had never experienced rain on the Arctic Ocean ice pack.
During December 1998, Canada’s Environment Department released a study of global warming’s potential effects, including displaced wildlife, increased pollution risks, and a thaw of the permafrost that could destabilize infrastructure across the Canadian sub-Arctic. The study suggests that a warming trend could