Human Ecology pp 281-295 | Cite as

Local Knowledge and Changing Subsistence Strategies in James Bay, Canada



The description of ecosystems necessarily reduces their complexity to a few measurable and controllable variables. Environmental monitoring practices of some indigenous and rural societies are significant in this context. In this paper, we examine the ways in which an indigenous people understand and deal with complexity, using the example of Cree hunters of James Bay in the Canadian eastern subarctic. Our unit of analysis is the integrated social-ecological system (Berkes and Folke 1998) or the coupled human-environment system. We investigate social-ecological change in the goose hunt, which provides a resource of prime importance to the Wemindji Cree people of James Bay. First, we establish the context of the relationship between complex systems thinking and indigenous knowledge, reviewing how the two have been linked in the literature, especially the case for presenting indigenous knowledge as a holistic approach with parallels to adaptive management and fuzzy logic.


Indigenous Knowledge Canada Goose Indigenous Knowledge System Subsistence Hunting Hunting Site 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Natural Resources Institute, University of ManitobaWinnipegCanada
  2. 2.School of Geography and DevelopmentUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA

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