Human Ecology pp 281-295 | Cite as

Local Knowledge and Changing Subsistence Strategies in James Bay, Canada

Chapter

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Migration Turbidity Gravel Hunt Fishing 

Bibliography

  1. Bateson, G. and Bateson, M.C. (1987). Angels Fear: Towards an Epistemology of the Sacred, Bantham Books, New York.Google Scholar
  2. Berkes, F. (1998). Indigenous knowledge and resource management systems in the Canadian subarctic. In Berkes, F., and Folke, C. (eds.), Linking Social and Ecological Systems, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 98-128.Google Scholar
  3. Berkes, F. (2008). Sacred Ecology: Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Management Systems, 2nd ed., Routledge, London and New York.Google Scholar
  4. Berkes, F., Colding, J., and Folke, C. (2000). Rediscovery of traditional ecological knowledge as adaptive management. Ecological Applications 10: 1251-1262.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Berkes, F. and Kislalioglu Berkes, M. (2009). Ecological complexity, fuzzy logic and holism in indigenous knowledge. Futures 41: 6-12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Berkes, F., Kislalioglu Berkes, M., and Fast, H. (2007). Collaborative integrated management in Canada’s north: The role of local and traditional knowledge and community-based monitoring. Coastal Management 35: 143-162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Berkes, F. and Folke, C. (eds.) (1998). Linking Social and Ecological Systems: Management Practices and Social Mechanisms for Building Resilience, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  8. CRA (Cree Regional Authority) (2005). Workshop on migratory birds data collection in Eeyou Istchee: Sharing Knowledge, Proceedings of workshop held in Wemindji, February 8-9 2005. http://www.envcree.ca/communities/documents/WorkshopReport.pdf
  9. Carlson, H. M. (2008). Home is the Hunter: The James Bay Cree and Their Land, University of British Columbia Press, Vancouver.Google Scholar
  10. Dove, M. R. (1985). Swidden Agriculture in Indonesia: The Subsistence Strategies of the Kalimantan Kantu’, Mouton, Berlin.Google Scholar
  11. Gadgil, M., Berkes, F., and Folke, C. (1993). Indigenous knowledge for biodiversity conservation. Ambio 22: 151-156.Google Scholar
  12. Feit, H. A. (1987). Waswanipi Cree management of land and wildlife: Cree cultural ecology revisited. In Cox, B. (ed.), Native People, Native Lands: Canadian Indians, Inuit and Métis, Carleton University Press, Ottawa, pp. 75-91.Google Scholar
  13. Harvey, W. F. and Rodrigue, J. (2006). A Breeding Pair Survey of Canada Geese in Northern Québec - 2006, Maryland Department of Natural Resources and Canadian Wildlife Service, Baltimore and Québec.Google Scholar
  14. Hornig, J. F. (1999). Social and Environmental Impacts of the James Bay Hydroelectric Project, McGill-Queen’s University Press, Montreal and Kingston.Google Scholar
  15. Hunn, E. S., Johnson, D., Russell, P., and Thornton, T. F. (2003). Huna Tlingit traditional environmental knowledge, conservation, and the management of a “wilderness” park. Current Anthropology 44: S79-S104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Levin, S. A. (1999). Fragile Dominion: Complexity and the Commons, Perseus, Reading, MA.Google Scholar
  17. Liu, J., Dietz, T., Carpenter, S. R., Alberti, M., Folke, C., Moran, E., Pell, A. N., Deadman, P., Kratz, T., Lubchenco, J., Ostrom, E., Ouyang, Z., Provencher, W., Redman, C. L., Schneider, S. H., and Taylor, W. W. (2007). Complexity of coupled human and natural systems. Science 317: 1513-1516.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. McDonald, M., Arragutainaq, L., and Novalinga, Z. J. (1997). Voices from the Bay: Traditional Ecological Knowledge of Inuit and Cree in the Hudson Bay Bioregion, Canadian Arctic Resources Committee, Ottawa.Google Scholar
  19. Moller, H., Berkes, F., Lyver, P. O., and Kislalioglu, M. (2004). Combining science and traditional ecological knowledge: Monitoring populations for co-management. Ecology and Society 9: (3): 2. http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol9/iss3/art2/ Google Scholar
  20. Peloquin, C. (2007). Variability, Change and Continuity in Social-Ecological Systems: Insights from James Bay Cree Cultural Ecology. Thesis, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg. http://mspace.lib.umanitoba.ca/dspace/handle/1993/3019 Google Scholar
  21. Prato, T. (2005). A fuzzy logic approach for evaluating ecosystem sustainability. Ecological Modelling 187: 361-368.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Preston, R. J. (1978). La relation sacrée entre les Cris et les oies. Recherches Amérindiennes au Québec 8: 147-152.Google Scholar
  23. Reed, A., Benoit, R., Lalumière, R., and Julien, M. (1996). Goose Use of the Coastal Habitats of Northeastern James Bay, Canadian Wildlife Service, Environment Canada, Ottawa.Google Scholar
  24. Rosenberg, D. M., Berkes, F., Bodaly, R. A., Hecky, R. E., Kelly, C. A., and Rudd, J. W. M. (1997). Large-scale impacts of hydroelectric development. Environmental Reviews 5: 27-54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Sardar, Z. (1994). Conquests, chaos and complexity: The Other in modern and postmodern science. Futures 26: 665-682.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Scott, C. (1986). Hunting territories, hunting bosses and communal production among coastal James Bay Cree. Anthropologica 28: 163-173.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Scott, C. (1996). Science for the west, myth for the rest? The case of James Bay Cree knowledge construction. In Nader, L. (ed.), Naked Science: Anthropological Inquiry into Boundaries, Power and Knowledge, Routledge, London, pp. 69-86.Google Scholar
  28. Silvert, W. (1997). Ecological impact classification with fuzzy sets. Ecological Modelling 96: 1-10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Toledo, V. M., Ortiz-Espejel, B., Cortés, L., Moguel, P., and Ordoñez, M. D. J. (2003). The multiple use of tropical forests by indigenous peoples in Mexico: a case of adaptive management. Conservation Ecology 7(3): 9. http://www.consecol.org/vol7/iss3/art9/ Google Scholar
  30. Zadeh, L. A. (1973). Outline of a new approach to the analysis of complex systems and decision process. Transactions on Systems, Man and Cybernetics SMC-3: 28-44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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

Personalised recommendations