EWC works to maintain connections with Chukotkan partners in order to encourage bilateral agreements to study and manage the Pacific walrus, a shared resource between United States and Russia. EWC continues to pursue collaborative projects with Chukotkan partners whenever possible and supports opportunities for interactions and cultural exchanges between Alaskan and Chukotkan indigenous peoples, particularly regarding relationships to walrus subsistence, culture, and language. Documentation of Indigenous Knowledge in both Chukotka and Alaska is an important part of this effort.
National Park Service Shared Beringian Heritage Program Grant: Indigenous Knowledge of the Native People of Chukotka About Walrus
This project continues to collect Indigenous Knowledge about walrus use with information from 3 Chukchi/Yupik villages in Chukotka including the publication of a Russian/Yupik/English Illustrated Walrus Dictionary.
Chukotkan researchers and subsistence walrus hunters met in Nome on December 18-19,2015 with Alaskan subsistence walrus hunters, managers, and researchers to discuss ongoing and upcoming walrus research and issues/concerns related to the health of the Pacific walrus population and the Native communities dependent on the resource. Participants also discussed research activities in Chukotka and Alaska including environmental conditions for walrus and potential implications for human health.
Alaska Community Foundation Grant- EWC Sustainable Business Plan
Significant decreases in federal funding continue to impact the functional capacity of the EWC. EWC worked with Foraker Group and developed a sustainable business plan to guide the EWC toward becoming a more self-sustaining and effective organization.
Oak Foundation Grant- EWC Communications Infrastructure
EWC continues to work with Strategies 360 to improve communications infrastructure to increase education/outreach and provide information to EWC communities, and effectively advocate for their subsistence needs. Training included how to develop a newsletter, tools to update website, and a more effective social media presence.
EWC is working to collaborate more closely with other marine mammal commissions on issues of mutual concern. Through this grant, EWC representatives will be able to travel to meetings of other commissions to participate in discussions regarding mutual issues and initiate collaborative efforts.
EWC remains committed to work with the Native Villages of Gambell and Savoonga to expand their existing Tribal Marine Mammal Ordinances to include struck/loss language and other provisions. EWC is also documenting the history of the ordinances and use this information to assist other EWC communities in developing similar local management structures.
Collaborative Research with Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) Alaska, March 2017-19
EWC received a 3-year sub-award from ICC Alaska for "Food Sovereignty and Self-Governance-Inuit Role in Managing Arctic Marine Resources" funded by National Science Foundation. EWC provides administrative support to ICC Alaska, is on the Advisory Committee, and assisted in a 1-day workshop of the Committee in Nome end of March 2018
Endangered Species Act (ESA) Listing Determination for Pacific Walrus
EWC worked with FWS to ensure that Traditional Knowledge was included in the determination for listing of the Pacific walrus under the ESA in early 2017 and provided extensive comments a draft ESA report by FWS. Although FWS' final decision to not list Pacific walrus under ESA was welcomed, EWC is committed that participation by the subsistence community is done meaningfully and Indigenous Knowledge is included in further ESA discussions.