EWC works to maintain connections with Chukotkan partners in order to encourage bilateral agreements to study and manage the Pacific walrus, which is a shared resource. The EWC participates in forums such as the Bering Strait Messenger Network, which connects Alaskans with Chukotkans on a monthly basis via teleconferences on specific topics. The EWC also pursues 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 in terms of subsistence, culture, and language. Documentation of Traditional Knowledge in both Chukotka and Alaska is an important part of this effort.
National Park Service Shared Beringian Heritage Program Grant: Traditional Knowledge of the Native People of Chukotka About Walrus
This project will result in the publication of a Traditional Knowledge report with information from 5 Chukchi/Yupik villages in Chukotka, as well as a Russian/Chukchi/Yupik/English Illustrated Walrus Dictionary.
Chukotkan researchers and subsistence walrus hunters will be in Nome to meet with Alaskan subsistence walrus hunters, managers, and researchers to discuss ongoing and upcoming walrus research and issues/concerns related to the wellbeing of the Pacific walrus population and the Native communities dependent on walrus. A second workshop will be held in Chukotka in 2017 to follow up on the results of the December workshop and review the Traditional Knowledge research conducted in 2015 and 2016.
Alaska Community Foundation Grant- EWC Sustainable Business Plan
Significant decreases in federal funding have greatly impacted the functional capacity of the EWC. The EWC is now working with the Foraker Group to develop a sustainable business plan to guide the EWC toward becoming a more self-sustaining and effective organization.
Oak Foundation Grant- EWC Communications Infrastructure
EWC is working with Strategies 360 to develop improved communications infrastructure to better serve and provide information to EWC communities, and to more effectively advocate for their subsistence needs. This will involve developing a newsletter, an updated 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 the meetings of other commissions to participate in discussions regarding these issues and initiate collaborative efforts.
EWC will be working with the Native Villages of Gambell and Savoonga to expand their existing Tribal Marine Mammal Ordinances to include struck/loss provisions. The EWC will also document the history of the ordinances and use this information to assist other EWC communities in developing similar local management structures.
ConocoPhillips Grant – Traditional Knowledge About Walrus in EWC Communities
EWC is conducting Traditional Ecological Knowledge interviews in EWC communities to expand on the previous TEK report, "Pacific Walrus: Conserving Our Culture Through Traditional Management."
Endangered Species Act (ESA) Listing Determination for Pacific Walrus
EWC is working in collaboration with the FWS to ensure that Traditional Knowledge is included in the determination for listing of the Pacific walrus under the ESA by 2017. The EWC is also working to ensure that information about the potential ESA listing is provided to EWC communities, and that participation by the subsistence community is meaningfully incorporated into the listing determination process.