In February of 2001, skilled and respected Inuit hunter Simon Nattaq plunged through the sea ice into the frigid ocean water. He was alone and ten miles from the nearest outpost camp. He pulled himself from the water, his traditional clothing soaked, and buried himself in a snow drift to protect himself from the cold and wind. For two days he waited; alone, wet and without food. When he was finally rescued, his lower legs were frozen. Doctors in Ottawa amputated both legs at the knee.
Today Simon continues to hunt and to assist in rescues of other hunters stranded on the land. He believes that his accident can help educate others about climate change. He says when he was a young man in the 1950s hunters had to be cautious of the ice only during fall freeze up and spring break up. Normally by winter the ice was safe. Now, however, the warm ocean currents erode the ice from underneath.
Simon spoke through interpreter Becky Mike and with Global Warming 101 expedition member Elizabeth Andre.
Inuktitut with English translation
English translation only