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Anthropology, Public Policy, and Native Peoples in Canada

Anthropology, Public Policy, and Native Peoples in Canada

Noel Dyck
James B. Waldram
Copyright Date: 1993
Pages: 368
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  • Book Info
    Anthropology, Public Policy, and Native Peoples in Canada
    Book Description:

    The essays in Anthropology, Public Policy, and Native Peoples in Canada provide a comprehensive evaluation of past, present, and future forms of anthropological involvement in public policy issues that affect Native peoples in Canada. The contributing authors, who include social scientists and politicians from both Native and non-Native backgrounds, use their experience to assess the theory and practice of anthropological participation in and observation of relations between aboriginal peoples and governments in Canada. They trace the strengths and weaknesses of traditional forms of anthropological fieldwork and writing, as well as offering innovative solutions to some of the challenges confronting anthropologists working in this domain.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6371-1
    Subjects: Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Abbreviations
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. 1 Anthropology, Public Policy, and Native peoples: An Introduction to the Issues
    (pp. 3-38)

    The issues that concern us in this volume can be conveniently introduced by a familiar ethnographic device, the recounting of a social situation - in this case, one that occurred while this volume was being written. In the autumn of 1989 the attention of the news media both in France and Canada focused for a few days on a crew of Haida Indians from the Queen Charlotte Islands as they paddled a magnificently carved war canoe up the River Seine to honour Claude Lévi-Strauss, France’s world-renowned anthropologist.¹ This improbable episode had its beginnings in a request from the Musée de...


    • 2 The Emergence of “Eskimo Status”: An Examination of the Eskimo Disk List System and Its Social Consequences, 1925–1970
      (pp. 41-74)

      In February 1941 a formal decision the Northwest Territories Council¹ voted to adopt a system of identification for all Eskimos² of the Territories. Intended to facilitate the maintenance of virtually all governmental and administrative records, the decision made particular mention of records of “hunting, education, hospitalization and relief”³ and also included provision both for the issue of “numbered identification discs to Eskimos” which would bear the Canadian coat of arms and for a sufficient number of disks to be struck.⁴ Census enumerators were equipped with supplies of disks, registration forms, and detailed instructions in order to link up the initial...

    • 3 The Hawthorn Report: Its Use in the Making of Canadian Indian Policy
      (pp. 75-97)

      If anthropologists seek to influence the policy-making process through their research, they must first understand the political and bureaucratic nature of governments and how the policy-making process operates within that context. One way to gain this knowledge is to discover how our work has been used by governments in the past, a long-neglected aspect of applied anthropology (Chambers 1985:viii). This paper analyses the life cycle of one research report, not with the intent of proclaiming indignation at the government’s treatment of our work, but in a serious attempt to understand how our research is perceived and used by policy makers...

    • 4 Northern Development, Impact Assessment, and Social Change
      (pp. 98-130)

      The study of social change has preoccupied social scientists working in northern Canada since World War II. This is because of both the growth of economic development and social change as fields of study in the social sciences generally, and the evident rapidity and pervasiveness of change in the North itself. To the end of the 1960s most of the relevant literature was set in a framework of modernization and acculturation. While it documented the nature and difficulties of the transition from hunter to proletarian (e.g., La Rusic 1970), the outcome - assimilation by the national economy and culture -...


    • 5 The Politics of Ethnography in the Canadian North
      (pp. 133-145)

      One of the liveliest areas of discussion in contemporary anthropology centres on how to convey authentically, in words, the experience of another culture. Anthropology’s claims to provide authoritative interpretations of cultural experience are being challenged from both inside and outside the discipline (Rabinow 1977; Said 1979; Rosaldo 1980; Ellen 1984; Clifford and Marcus 1986; Marcus and Fischer 1986; Clifford 1988). The issue of how culture can be translated is also a subject of considerable discussion in the communities where ethnographers conduct research. In fact, the development of a critical and articulate local audience is changing the shape and direction of...

    • 6 The Summer Meddler: The Image of the Anthropologist as Tool for Indigenous Formulations of Culture
      (pp. 146-165)

      In a recent paper, Nancy Lurie (1988) has described the evolution of relationships between North American Indian hosts and the anthropologists who have worked with them. The collegial relationships of anthropologists with “key informants” in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries gave way in some areas after mid-century to many tense episodes between visiting anthropologists and the revisited communities they had studied. Public attention to this relationship increased in 1969, when Indian writer Vine Deloria, Jr. published scathing criticisms of the role of anthropologists in Native American communities, followed by further indigenous response both in print and in the...

    • 7 Some Native Perspectives on Anthropology and Public Policy
      (pp. 166-191)

      In order to take into account some Native perspectives on the issues dealt with in this volume, Noel Dyck sought interviews with three members of Indian bands in British Columbia - Ron Ignace, George Speck, and Renee Taylor - who have encountered anthropology both through university training and by having worked with anthropologists at the community level. The arrangement agreed upon was that the interviews would be tape recorded, transcribed, and then jointly edited.

      Since it was not possible for all four of us to meet at the same time, two separate interviews were held a couple of weeks apart...

    • 8 “Telling it like it is”: Some Dilemmas of Fourth World Ethnography and Advocacy
      (pp. 192-212)

      The days when one might have lamented a lack of writing about the situation of Native peoples within Canadian society have long since disappeared. Indeed, during the past two decades a seemingly inexhaustible supply of government reports, popular and journalistic accounts, academic journal articles, monographs, and volumes of collected essays dealing with virtually all aspects of Native cultures and issues, past and present, has appeared. Anthropologists working in institutional settings ranging from university departments and museums to consultancy firms, government agencies, and tribal and band governments are prolific contributors to this rising tide of literature on Native issues.

      Yet, notwithstanding...

  7. PART THREE Anthropological Involvement in Native Policy Issues
    (pp. 213-214)

    This section contains six case studies and methodological analyses which examine different facets of anthropological involvement in public policy issues. The papers by John O’Neil and his colleagues and by Douglas Elias are particularly relevant in outlining methodological approaches useful in tackling pertinent public policy issues. The former describes a process of participatory research in various health care projects, the latter describes the various technical approaches useful in land claims research. Explicit in both is the need for a collaborative relationship between anthropological researcher and population being researched to ensure the production of data that both meets the exigencies of...

  8. Contributors
    (pp. 359-362)