Chipewyan hunting, scientific research and state conservation of the barren-ground caribou, 1940-1970
Cranstonsmith, Veronica V.
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This study examined the actions of the scientific community in their role as advisors to the state on caribou conservation policy initiatives, and the reaction of the Aboriginal people to the restrictions imposed on their basic resource. The study is an interpretation of evidence found in the files of the National Archives of Canada. A case study of the Chipewyan caribou user group and another case study of the Beverly and Kaminuriak Barren-ground Caribou herds were done. Second, an examination of the relevant records from a variety of government departments in the National Archives of Canada was pursued. Special emphasis was placed on an analysis of the records of the Canadian Wildlife Service during the period 1940 to 1970. The study found that biologists of the Canadian Wildlife Service recommended hunting restrictions based on flawed evidence. Policy makers used that evidence to further their longterm goal of assimilating Aboriginal people into the larger southern oriented wage economy. Aboriginal people resisted hunting restrictions by non-compliance, and by protest. The study concludes that to the dominant special interest groups conservation of the caribou was more important than the preservation of the Chipewyan traditional culture.