Notions of Time and Sentience: Methodological Considerations for Arctic Climate Change Research

David. C. Natcher, Orville Huntington, Henry Huntington, F. Stuart Chapin III, Sarah Fleisher Trainor and La’Ona DeWilde


For anthropologists who are involved in Arctic climate change research, cultural conceptions of time and sentience have yet to receive explicit research attention, choosing rather to focus on the societal effects of climate change and formulating more adaptive human responses. Notwithstanding the value of this research, the methodologies often used tend to reflect a culturally based assumption that there exists a single characterization of time and sentience that applies to all Arctic residents. Based on collaborative research with the Koyukon community of Huslia, Alaska, this paper challenges that assumption and identifies some of the cross-cultural challenges of conducting climate change research when differing notions of time and sentience are encountered.

  • David C. Natcher, Department of Bioresource Policy, Business, and Economics University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7N 5A8

  • Orville Huntington Vice-chair of the Alaska Native Science Commission

  • Henry Huntington, 23834 The Clearing Dr. Eagle River, Alaska 99577

  • F. Stuart Chapin III, Institute of Arctic Biology University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, Alaska 99775

  • Sarah Fleisher Trainor, Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy University of Alaska Fairbanks, P.O. Box 755960, Fairbanks, Alaska 99775

  • La’Ona DeWilde, Resilience and Adaptation Program University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, Alaska 99775

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