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When Whales and Humans Talk:

Why Scientists Are Starting to Care About Cultures That Talk to Whales: Arctic people have been communicating with cetaceans for centuries. The rest of the world is finally listening in... Yay!!!

This is a fascinating story by by Krista Langlois

“Tattooed Whale, 2016” by Tim Pitsiulak. Screen-print on Arches Cover Black. (Reproduced with the permission of Dorset Fine Arts)

Many of the points in the story mirror conversations I have had over the years with animals, plants and insects. Below are a few excerpts by author Krista Langlois: I encourage you to read the complete story.

The idea that Indigenous people have spiritual relationships with animals is so well established in popular culture it’s cliché. Yet constricted by Western science and culture, few archaeologists have examined the record of human history with the perspective that animals feel emotions and can express those emotions to humans.

While Westerners domesticated and eventually industrialized the animals we eat—and thus came to view them as dumb and inferior—Arctic cultures saw whale hunting as a match between equals. Bipedal humans with rudimentary technology faced off against animals as much as 1,000 times their size that were emotional, thoughtful, and influenced by the same social expectations that governed human communities. In fact, whales were thought to live in an underwater society paralleling that above the sea.

The belief that whales have agency and can communicate their needs to people isn’t unique to the Arctic.