And I think if the culture were to maintain its ethnic history and activities without the aid of technology, then traditions could be carried on without conscience or lack of integrity.
When advanced technology and knowledge makes its way into any culture, however, there is a blending that must and does occur.
And along with that blending of culture and technology, decisions must be made which affects one’s life as one moves forward with that new knowledge.
That new knowledge does not have to negate the old.
At a very basic level, if your life changes from a subsistence style life to a more modern approach, it becomes less of a need to go out and hunt. However, with today’s technology, hunting whales, fish and mammals can be done at a massive rate and in some cases, to the point of extinction.
More advanced countries, like Japan, in recent years, have become technically proficient at killing fish and whales in incredible numbers.
A population of more than 125 million, Japan consumes better than 33 percent of the seafood in the world. And as such they have encroached other countries and are contributing to depleting the ocean’s resources. And for that reason (among others), sanctions are being brought upon them based on their consumption that affects smaller populations such as the Inuit. And with those sanctions labeling connections to the Inuit are made such as animal cruelty and on the flip side, pollution and the depletion of marine resources.
In Iceland, specifically the Faroe Islands, fin whales are corralled in a tight cove for young men to wade out into less than waist high water and slaughter defenseless whales as a test of “manhood”. Why not giving a young man a knife, food for a week and to brave the blizzard and to kill a kodiak? Wading out in water and killing small whales at your feet is like walking into a pen of puppies and opening up on them with a small handgun. Somehow that is supposed to make you “a man”. Somehow it is supposed to make you and your parents proud.
And for that reason governments and anti-whaling activists include the Inuit.
Labels are giving to this proud and resilient race which have survived freezing temperatures and little food. But today, Inuits have taken on the more modern approach to living and honestly no longer need to hunt endangered whales for the reason of survival alone.
On the scientific side, whales are being discovered to be sentient creatures and having many social traits like our own,
among many other things. More and more whales are becoming less of a food source and more of a friend. A creature with intelligence considered second only to us. And yet we have just begun to understand them. The recent discoveries are amazing: the training of their young, the use of neutrino waves to communicate at long distances, the transformation of their feces that becomes a nutrient rich mixture that converts nitrogen into for microscopic animals and begins the food chain.
If men live only by the land and that is how they survive, I can understand the taking of animals to live. That is how the animal kingdom does it. But where a culture changes and no longer relies on subsistence day-to-day, I think that life style needs to be reviewed and honestly.
We have made many wrongs as a species, such as slavery and the extinction of other races that do not agree with our way of thinking. And yet, there comes a time, when our knowledge for survival allows us to survive way beyond our needs. It is then that we have to become the caretakers of this very small planet and realize the delicate balance of life. It does not mean that we pay less respect for the old ways, but pave the way for the new. And find a way to keep certain traditions alive, which teach our children the value of living and our commonality with all life.