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Cultivating Arctic Landscapes

Cultivating Arctic Landscapes: Knowing and Managing Animals in the Circumpolar North

David G. Anderson
Mark Nuttall
Copyright Date: 2004
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 256
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  • Book Info
    Cultivating Arctic Landscapes
    Book Description:

    In the last two decades, there has been an increased awareness of the traditions and issues that link aboriginal people across the circumpolar North. One of the key aspects of the lives of circumpolar peoples, be they in Scandinavia, Alaska, Russia, or Canada, is their relationship to the wild animals that support them. Although divided for most of the 20th Century by various national trading blocks, and the Cold War, aboriginal people in each region share common stories about the various capitalist and socialist states that claimed control over their lands and animals. Now, aboriginal peoples throughout the region are reclaiming their rights.

    This volume is the first to give a well-rounded portrait of wildlife management, aboriginal rights, and politics in the circumpolar north. The book reveals unexpected continuities between socialist and capitalist ecological styles, as well as addressing the problems facing a new era of cultural exchanges between aboriginal peoples in each region.

    eISBN: 978-1-78238-209-6
    Subjects: Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Figures
    (pp. vii-vii)
  4. Foreword
    (pp. viii-xiii)
    Tim Ingold

    My closest neighbour, when I was living among the Skolt Saami of northeastern Finland in 1971–72, was Piera Porsanger. Piera was not himself from a Skolt family. His ancestors had inhabited the area for many generations before the Skolts were resettled there after losing their original homelands beyond the postwar border with the Soviet Union. However, he had married the daughter of one of the new arrivals, and by the time of my fieldwork he had a large and bustling family. They were not well off, and Piera always wore the expression of a man worn down by the...

  5. Acknowledgements
    (pp. xiv-xiv)
  6. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  7. 1 Reindeer, Caribou and ʹFairy Storiesʹ of State Power
    (pp. 1-16)
    David G. Anderson

    Northern places are often spoken of in extreme, uncompromising terms. For many they are understood to be harsh, cold, remote and romantically challenging. These extreme metaphors are not innocent rhetorical flourishes. As Lakoff and Johnson (1980) have shown us, metaphors frame concepts in such a way as to shape the way people respond to them. The history of northern peoples is full of such misunderstandings. What is seen as the ‘desolate’ Arctic has become a dumping ground for the steaming artefacts of the Cold War (Osherenko and Young 1989). In the idiom of international law, northern territories are seen as...

  8. 2 Uses and Abuses of ʹTraditional Knowledgeʹ: Perspectives from the Yukon Territory
    (pp. 17-32)
    Julie Cruikshank

    Since the 1990s, discussions about indigenous knowledge or traditional ecological knowledge have become internationalised, both in scholarly debates such as those emerging from environmental anthropology, and as part of daily discussions in indigenous communities where anthropologists work. These discussions usually originate in local questions: for example, knowledge debates are entwined with issues of sustainable development in Asia (Agrawal 1995; Bruun and Kalland 1995; Huber and Pederson 1997) and with concerns about predation by pharmaceutical companies in South America (Posey 1990; Brush 1993; Rival 1998). They overlap with land claims struggles in Australia (Povinelli 1993, 1995), in New Zealand (Sissons 1993)...

  9. 3 Local Knowledge in Greenland: Arctic Perspectives and Contextual Differences
    (pp. 33-56)
    Frank Sejersen

    As the discussions about the generalities and particularities of local knowledge pervade the academic and indigenous communities, one is increasingly struck by the question: Why has indigenous knowledge never become an issue in Europe and Greenland in the way that it has in North America? (Dybbroe 1999: 14). Although Greenland is an Arctic Inuit community, its history is closely related to Danish colonial policy which sets it distinctly apart from the North American Arctic. An analysis of institutional, cultural and social differences between Greenland and the North American Arctic may provide answers to the above question as well as broaden...

  10. 4 Codifying Knowledge about Caribou: The History of Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit in the Kitikmeot Region of Nunavut, Canada
    (pp. 57-78)
    Natasha Thorpe

    In the Kitikmeot region of Nunavut, Canada, the idea that one species could manage another was once unfamiliar to local Inuit. Traditionally, Inuit interrelated to caribou with respect and reciprocity, using the fundamental tenet that all species are equal and interconnected. For Inuit, whose identity, culture and survival were inextricably bound to caribou, the cultural beliefs, traditions and customs known aspitquhiit(plural) described their interrelation to caribou and other animals. This chapter considers the question of whether or not new practices used to codifypitquhiittruly reflect its nature. My main argument is that what hunters today in Kitikmeot...

  11. 5 A Story about a Muskox: Some Implications of Tetlit Gwichʹin Human–Animal Relationships
    (pp. 79-92)
    Robert P. Wishart

    There is a growing body of literature in anthropology concerned with state–aboriginal relations as they centre on issues of wildlife management.¹ These analyses coincide and refer to another, larger literature regarding aboriginal human–animal and human–land relationships.² Rather than revisiting these arguments directly, this chapter makes use of the general messages from these bodies of literature while focusing on what I was told by one wildlife officer and some Gwich’in elders about the ramifications of one particular hunting incident, when a muskox was killed by a Tetlit Gwich’in elder from the community of Fort McPherson, Northwest Territories (NWT),...

  12. 6 ʹWe did not want the muskox to increaseʹ: Inuvialuit Knowledge about Muskox and Caribou Populations on Banks Island, Canada
    (pp. 93-109)
    Murielle Nagy

    This chapter compares the knowledge of Inuvialuit and that of biologists about how muskoxen and caribou relate to one another. I focus upon one contrasting assumption: the assumption on the part of biologists that the two species are discrete, as opposed to that of Inuvialuit of the patterns of interrelation and avoidance between the two. This debate takes place in the context of one of the most dramatic and puzzling environmental shifts (some would say disaster) in the circumpolar North: the abandonment of Banks Island by Peary caribou in the years following a massive increase of muskoxen. I conclude in...

  13. 7 Political Ecology in Swedish Saamiland
    (pp. 110-123)
    Hugh Beach

    In northern Sweden today (and indeed over the centuries albeit, in changing ways) two animal species, wolf and reindeer, in their relations to humankind and to each other hold key positions in a number of ongoing local debates. Both wolf and reindeer are major economic determinants of the livelihood of indigenous Saami pastoralists. Both are also powerful symbols, moving debates of resource conflict and compensation dramatically into larger discourses of principle concerning the relations between a native minority and the nation-state and between environmentalists and the Saami herders who have increasingly been cast in terms of ‘eco-criminals’. Both Bjørklund and...

  14. 8 Saami Pastoral Society in Northern Norway: The National Integration of an Indigenous Management System
    (pp. 124-135)
    Ivar Bjørklund

    In 1992 the Norwegian government delivered a report to Parliament, in which it concluded that ‘the law (regarding reindeer husbandry) has not worked according to its intentions. [It] has not been able to secure balanced resource management and viable adaptation’.¹ These are rather harsh words for a governmental report and they certainly beg some hard questions. In this chapter I will therefore take a closer look at why this policy has gone wrong and ask what the consequences of this failure are. The answers shed some light on the viability of indigenous management systems in ecological terms and the consequences...

  15. 9 Chukotkan Reindeer Husbandry in the Twentieth Century: In the Image of the Soviet Economy
    (pp. 136-153)
    Patty A. Gray

    The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 had far-reaching effects that precipitated social transformation throughout Russian society. Although most of the information that reaches the West concerns the more visible locales, such as Moscow, the most cataclysmic changes occurred in rural areas far from Moscow, about which little is generally heard. This paper concerns one particular region of the North that is located as far from Moscow as one can go in Russia – the far northeastern Chukotka Autonomous Region. It concerns, moreover, one of the key economies of the North, reindeer herding, which is also one of the...

  16. 10 A Genealogy of the Concept of ʹWanton Slaughterʹ in Canadian Wildlife Biology
    (pp. 154-171)
    Craig Campbell

    There is a common policy in most northern regions today, from Canada to Siberia, that local people and scientists must work together in order to manage Arctic landscapes. In the 1990s and the start of the twenty-first century, ‘co-management’ has been a key word in the relationship between scientists and indigenous hunters of caribou. It is no secret that the political and in many cases the legal imperatives that encourage biologists and traditional hunters to work together makes an uneasy alliance. Several key articles (Bergerud 1988; Osherenko 1988; Freeman 1989) as well as chapters in this collection (Usher, Nagy, Sejersen)...

  17. 11 Caribou Crisis or Administrative Crisis? Wildlife and Aboriginal Policies on the Barren Grounds of Canada, 1947–60
    (pp. 172-199)
    Peter J. Usher

    The postwar years were a time of rapid change in the Canadian North. There was a growing view in government that the old fur trade economy was no longer sustainable, but what should or could be done about it was unclear. The problem seemed especially critical in the least accessible and least developed parts of the North, not least in the central Barren Grounds between the Mackenzie River and Hudson Bay. The defining event of that place and time was the so-called ‘caribou crisis’: the apparent confirmation by science of long-held suspicions of severe depletion of the great Barren Ground...

  18. 12 Epilogue: Cultivating Arctic Landscapes
    (pp. 200-209)
    Mark Nuttall

    The contributors to this volume have discussed the relationship of circumpolar peoples to the wild animals which support them, and the politics of regulation of Arctic landscapes, hunting and herding in a range of local cultural contexts. Although the ethnographic material ranges across a vast part of the northern reaches of the globe, the contributors point to the compelling similarities in the political and cultural settings of aboriginal peoples, together with their common experiences about how various capitalist and socialist states claimed control over their lands and animals. The majority of contributors describe how animals such as caribou and reindeer...

  19. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 210-212)
  20. Bibliography
    (pp. 213-232)
  21. Index
    (pp. 233-238)