Human Ecology

, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 223–259 | Cite as

Subarctic Indian trappers and band society: The economics of male mobility

  • Robert Jarvenpa


The spatial organization of economic production in contemporary subarctic Indian society is illustrated by an analysis of geographical mobility and commercial fur trapping among the English River Chipewyan of Patuanak, Saskatchewan. Quantitative comparison reveals the positive linear relationship between selected “performance” variables (numbers of animals captured and cash income) and “locational” variables (trapping area size, distances traveled between settlements and bush camps, and distances between neighboring trappers) for a population of 76 male trappers. At present, trapping performance varies positively with trapping area size and linear distance from the largest settlement. Variable social adaptations in the trapping work force are in part the result of complex compromises and adjustments between traditional familycamp organizations and emerging all-male partnerships. However, the relationship between size and structure of trapping teams, degree of team interaction, and economic efficiency requires further investigation. Finally, the formal analysis of productivity is reappraised in terms of community definitions of trapping success.

Key words

locational analysis fur-trapping subarctic societies 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert Jarvenpa
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyState University of New York at AlbanyUSA

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