Hunting and Morality as Elements of Traditional Ecological Knowledge
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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.