Human Ecology

, Volume 40, Issue 1, pp 15–27 | Cite as

Hunting and Morality as Elements of Traditional Ecological Knowledge

Article

Abstract

Contemporary subsistence hunting practices of North American Indians have been questioned because of hunters’ use of modern technologies and integration of wage-based and subsistence livelihoods. Tribal traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) has been questioned on similar grounds and used as justification for ignoring tribal perspectives on critical natural resource conservation and development issues. This paper examines hunting on the Lac du Flambeau Indian Reservation in North Central Wisconsin, USA. The study used semi-structured interviews with hunters from the reservation to document their contemporary hunting practices and the traditional moral code that informs their hunting-related behaviors and judgments. Subsistence hunting is framed in the context of TEK and attention focused on the interplay between TEK’s practical and moral dimensions. Results indicate the importance of traditional moral codes in guiding a community’s contemporary hunting practices and the inseparability and interdependence of epistemological, practical, and ethical dimensions of TEK.

Keywords

American Indian Environmental values Ethics of hunting Ojibwe Subsistence Traditional ecological knowledge Tribal White-tailed deer 

Notes

Acknowledgements

Financial support for this project was provided by the Ford Foundation, the National Science Foundation, and NASA. We thank Lac du Flambeau Tribal staff, leaders and members for allowing and helping us conduct the research. Additional thanks are owed to Angela Spickard, Stuart Burgess, Henry Kovacs, Dan Kramer, Mike Walters, George Cornell, Jianguo Liu and Ivette Perfecto for invaluable support, assistance and feedback. Reviews of early drafts by Michael P. Nelson, Arun Agrawal, Brian Seitz and Thomas Princen, along with four anonymous reviewers, greatly improved this manuscript.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.Michigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA

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