Lands, Lakes and Livelihoods: women’s subsistence fishing in Paulatuk, NT

Regions: Inuvialuit Settlement Region

Tags: social sciences, fish, anthropology, traditional knowledge, ethnography, women

Principal Investigator: Todd, Zoe SC (4)
Licence Number: 15011
Organization: University of Aberdeen
Licensed Year(s): 2012 2011
Issued: Jan 16, 2012

Objective(s): To study how people fish in Paulatuk today, how people talk about fishing and how fishing was practiced and characterised in the past.

Project Description: The researcher will study how people fish in Paulatuk today, how people talk about fishing and how fishing was practiced and characterised in the past. The researcher’s intent is to gain insight into contemporary relationships between people and the environment and inform anthropological discourse on women’s harvesting activity in arctic Canada.

This project involves anthropological fieldwork, which will for a more focused research on community and family relationships over the period of 12 months. The following methods will be used: 1) participant observation, 2) apprenticeship (ie: fishing with individuals and families in the community), 3) oral history interviews and 4) archival research on documents and oral history narratives that pertain to subsistence fishing in the region.

The researcher will work closely with local research assistants to gather stories and information about Paulatukmiut fishing activities in the past and the present. The researcher is interested in sharing information gathered from this project locally. The research team will work closely with community members to ensure that the project meets community interests and needs. There is an opportunity to involve youth in the project through a 'Fishing Story' dimension of the research, in which the researcher hopes to work with local residents to gather and share 'fishing stories' (and/or art) through local media and at local venues. The research team will be working in the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre together to ensure that archival work is contextualized and shared effectively between the research team and the community. The team also plans to do some work at the Inuvialuit Cultural Resource Centre in 2012 to contextualize the project with resources at the Centre. Gathering information about the relationships between local fishing and environmental, social and cultural dimensions of the community will allow the team to establish qualitative baseline data about human-environment relationships for the community to use in future socio-economic impact assessments.

The research team will be located in the community throughout most of 2012, and they plan to share research findings through regular meetings, a 'Fishing Story' project with the local radio station and school, and through posters and written reports to be shared as the project progresses. The Principal Investigator will share the final thesis with the community and where possible, and other local research assistants will be involved in the writing of articles based on project findings.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from January 15, 2012 to November 1, 2012.