Social Networks as a Livelihood Strategy among K’asho Got’ine Youth

Regions: Sahtu Settlement Area

Tags: social sciences, knowledge transfer, traditional food, hunting, youth

Principal Investigator: Parlee, Brenda L (19)
Licence Number: 14591
Organization: University of Alberta
Licensed Year(s): 2009
Issued: Aug 12, 2009
Project Team: Roger McMillan (Co-investigator, University of Alberta)

Objective(s): This research aims to explore the following questions:
1) What are the characteristics (composition, structure, relationships, transactions, and flexibility) of social networks associated with the sharing of caribou and moose in the community of Fort Good Hope? What role do youth play in those networks?
2) What role do these social networks play in the livelihoods of resident and non-resident youth?

Project Description: This research aims to explore the following questions:
1) What are the characteristics (composition, structure, relationships, transactions, and flexibility) of social networks associated with the sharing of caribou and moose in the community of Fort Good Hope? What role do youth play in those networks?
2) What role do these social networks play in the livelihoods of resident and non-resident youth?

A scoping trip to Fort Good Hope was conducted by a graduate student (Roger McMillan) in February 2009 to collaboratively develop the research questions. Data collection is planned for August-November 2009. The graduate student will aim address the research questions using the following methods:

a) Hosting a community workshop on the sharing of caribou and moose meat, and contextual social relations (August 2009);
b) 10-20 interviews with youth in the community about their position in social networks of food sharing (September-October 2009);
c) 10 interviews with Fort Good Hope youth living outside the community about their position in social networks of food sharing (November 2009);
d) Interpreting the results (December 2009- March 2010);
e) Verification of results and reporting (September 2010- December 2010).

After consultation with local partners, a research assistant may be hired to assist with the logistical and linguistic challenges of this project. In this position, they will develop skills relevant to community-based research methods. This project also follows another study conducted in the community, which involved local youth as primary investigators. It is hoped that this project might therefore offer opportunities to further develop youths' skills in community-based research.

The community-based nature of the proposed research will provide a local-scale perspective on the behaviour and contemporary lived experience of Aboriginal youth that is not well developed in other research activities on barren-ground caribou. In the context of local concerns regarding caribou harvesting and sharing as fixtures of cultural continuity, this focus on youth may also contribute to inter-generational dialogue regarding traditional pursuits within the community.

Members of the community will be involved in the process of data interpretation during the research process itself, through a community workshop as well as through individual interviews (10-20). Community members will therefore play a key role in developing emerging results throughout the study. In addition, a follow-up trip is planned for the spring of 2010 to gather feedback on more developed study results.

Research partners (Sahtu Renewable Resource Council, local Renewable Resource Council, and Deline Knowledge Centre) will be kept informed as to the study process, and will be consulted as to appropriate means of disseminating study results in other communities in the NWT. Conferences organized by organizations such as the Association of Canadian Universities for Northern Studies (ACUNS) will also be mechanisms through which to communicate study results to northern audiences.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from August 12 to November 30, 2009, in Fort Good Hope.