Environmental Changes and Human Activity In North Eastern Canada (Nunavik and Labrador) during the Last Millenium

The ENCHAINEC project is focused on vulnerability, resilience and adaptation of northern societies facing global change. The rapid current warming of Arctic climates has already created many changes in the social, economic and cultural behavior of the populations inhabiting these regions and more changes are expected to come. These changes disturb the fragile balance between human and the environment. Populations of these areas have to face these challenges, and in this context, looking at the past provides the opportunity to explore the complex relationships between climate, ecology and human societies, which may help to suggest scenarios about some situations according to the forecasts. The chronological frame of the project encompasses the last millennium, a pretty well documented period. The study area concerns North-Eastern Canada (Nunavik, and Labrador-Nunatsiavut). Around 1000 years cal. AD, hunters/gatherers/fishers lived by the Nunavik and Labrador coasts. Within these study areas, our aim is to document 1000 years of interactions between Thule/Inuit (last Dorset pro parte) people, and their environment, through an interdisciplinary approach exploiting different kinds of natural archives. The use of pedo-sedimentary archives (lake and peat deposits, cryosols, anthrosols) and palaeoenvironmental multiproxy analyses will give useful information about landscape evolution, climatic and anthropogenic forcings upon ecological processes. Archaeological sites, and more specifically archaeological soils, ecofacts and artefacts, will give precious information about the nature of these interactions. In parallel when possible, an anthropological/cultural approach through open interviews will focus on human memory of Inuit elders, perception and prospects of environmental and social changes. Several modes of communication have already been identified, adapted to the different audiences and partners involved in the project: academics (presentations at conferences and publications in international journals), local communities and local authorities. It is a priority for us to circulate the results of our field work and analyses to a non-specialist audience, especially youths of the Inuit communities, by a website featuring the innovative interactive platform and the Facebook page.