Advertisement

Social Indicators Research

, Volume 61, Issue 2, pp 175–202 | Cite as

The Household as an Economic Unit in Arctic Aboriginal Communities, and its Measurement by Means of a Comprehensive Survey

  • Peter J. Usher
  • Gérard Duhaime
  • Edmund Searles
Article

Abstract

Northern aboriginal communities are widelyrecognized as having mixed, subsistence-basedeconomies. The chief characteristic of thiseconomy, aside from the contribution ofsubsistence harvesting and related activitiesto household well-being, is that the householdoperates as a ``micro-enterprise'' that is thebasic unit of production as well asconsumption. This economic form has persistedinto the present day, contrary to thepredictions of many social scientists andpolicy-makers. This paper outlines a model ofthe household in mixed, subsistence-basedeconomies, and describes its characteristicsand activities. While the discussion focuseson northern Canada, the model is thought toapply generally in the circumpolar North. Quantitative measurement of northern aboriginalhousehold characteristics and activities hasbeen limited, however, because national andregional data collection systems are notdesigned specifically to capture thesephenomena. The model is therefore basedprimarily on the results of in-depth casestudies, and the systematic measurement ofsubsistence harvesting. This paper describesthe development, for the first time, of aquestionnaire specifically designed to documentquantitatively the key characteristics of thehousehold economy as part of a comprehensivesurvey of living conditions in the circumpolarArctic.

Keywords

Data Collection Social Scientist Systematic Measurement Quantitative Measurement Living Condition 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

REFERENCES

  1. Ames, R., D. Axford, P. Usher, E. Weick and G. Wenzel: 1989, Keeping on the Land. A Study of the Feasibility of a Comprehensive Wildlife Harvest Support Programme in the Northwest Territories (Canadian Arctic Resources Committee, Ottawa).Google Scholar
  2. Berger, T.R.: 1977, Northern Frontier, Northern Homeland. The Report of the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry, Vol. 1 (Supply and Services, Ottawa).Google Scholar
  3. Berkes, F.: 1983, 'Quantifying the harvest of native subsistence fisheries', in R.W. Wein, R.R. Riewe and L.R. Methven (eds.), Resources and Dynamics of the Boreal Zone (Association of Canadian Universities for Northern Studies, Ottawa), pp. 346-363.Google Scholar
  4. Brody, H.: 1981, Maps and Dreams (Douglas & McIntyre, Vancouver).Google Scholar
  5. Brown, T.C. and E.S. Burch, Jr.: 1992, 'Estimating the economic value of subsistence harvest of wildlife in Alaska', in G.L. Peterson, C.S. Swanson, D.W. McCollum and M.H. Thomas (eds.), Valuing Wildlife in Alaska (Westview Press, Boulder, CO), pp. 203-254.Google Scholar
  6. Canada, Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development: 2000, Northern Indicators (Ottawa).Google Scholar
  7. Canada, Dominion Bureau of Statistics: 1962, National Accounts Income and Expenditure (Ottawa).Google Scholar
  8. Canada-Manitoba L: 1974, Social and Economic Studies (Appendix 8). Report of the Lake Winnipeg, Churchill & Nelson Rivers Study Board (N.p.).Google Scholar
  9. Canadian Arctic Gas Pipeline Limited: n.d. [1974], Regional Socio-Economic Impact Statement. Exhibit in Support of Applications to the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development of the Government of Canada for Authorization to Use Land, and to the National Energy Board of Canada for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity Authorizing the Construction of Pipeline Facilities. N.p.Google Scholar
  10. Chibnik, M.: 1978, 'The value of subsistence production', J. Anthropological Research 34(4), pp. 561-576.Google Scholar
  11. Elias, P.D.: 1997, 'Models of aboriginal communities in Canada's north', International Journal of Social Economics 24(11), pp. 1241-1255.Google Scholar
  12. Fabijan, M. and P.J. Usher: In press, Inuvialuit Marvest Study Data and Methods Report 1988-97 (Inuvialuit Harvest Study, Innuik).Google Scholar
  13. Fall, J.A.: 1990, 'The Division of Subsistence of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game: An overview of its research program and findings: 1980-1990', Arctic Anthropology 27(2), pp. 68-92.Google Scholar
  14. Graburn, N.: 1969, Eskimos without Igloos: Social and Economic Development in Sugluk (Little, Brown, Boston).Google Scholar
  15. Kruse, J.A.: 1986, 'Subsistence and the North Slope Inupiat: The effects of energy development', in S.J. Langdon (ed.), Contemporary Alaskan Native Economies (University Press of America, Lanham, MD), pp. 121-151.Google Scholar
  16. Langdon, S.: 1986, 'Subsistence as an economic system in Alaska: Theoretical observations and management implications', in S.J. Langdon (ed.), ContemporaryAlaskan Native Economies (University Press of America, Lanham, MD), pp. 29-46.Google Scholar
  17. LaRusic, I.: 1982, Income Security for Subsistence Hunters (Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Ottawa).Google Scholar
  18. Lonner, T.: 1986, 'Subsistence as an economic system in Alaska: Theoretical observations and management implications', in S.J. Langdon (ed.), ContemporaryAlaskan Native Economies (University Press of America, Lanham, MD), pp. 15-27.Google Scholar
  19. Lotz, J.: 1976, 'Area economic surveys: critique and assessment', in M.M.R. Freeman (ed.), Report, Inuit Land Use and Occupancy Project, Vol. 2 (Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Ottawa), pp. 23-30.Google Scholar
  20. Meldrum, S.M. and M. Helman. Summary of the Statistical Data from the D.I.A.N.D. Northern Manpower Survey Program in the Yukon and Northwest Territories 1969-1971 (Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Ottawa).Google Scholar
  21. Murphy, R.F. and J.H. Steward: 1956, 'Tappers and trappers: Parallel process in acculturation', Economic Development and Cultural Change 4, pp. 335-355.Google Scholar
  22. OECD: 1986, Living Conditions in OECD Countries: A Compendium of Social Indicators. OECD Social Policy Studies no. 3 (OECD, Paris).Google Scholar
  23. Palmer, J.: 1973, Social Accounts for the North: Interim Paper no. 3: The Measurement of Incomes in the Yukon and Northwest Territories. Economic Staff Group (Department of Indian Affairs and NorthernDevelopment, Ottawa).Google Scholar
  24. Palmer, J.: 1974, Measurement of the Value of Economic Activity in the North. Northern Program Planning Division (Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Ottawa).Google Scholar
  25. Pavitch, M.: n.d.a, The Estimation of the Imputed Value of Traditional Activities, N.W.T. and Yukon, 1967-1974. Northern Economic Planning Branch (Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Ottawa).Google Scholar
  26. Pavitch, M.: n.d.b, Economic Accounts: The Household Sector, Northwest Territories Yukon, 1967-1974. Northern Economic Planning Branch (Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Ottawa).Google Scholar
  27. Poppel, B., Anderson, T., Lyster, P.,2000 Measuring Ways of Living and Living Conditions of Indigenous Peoples of the Arctic-The Greenland Inuit as an Example Published online:http//www.statistik.admin.ch/about/ international/03iaosdet07.htm.Google Scholar
  28. Quigley, N.C. and N.J. McBride: 1987, 'The structure of an Arctic microeconomy: The traditional sector in community economic development', Arctic 40(3), pp. 204-210.Google Scholar
  29. Robertson, R.G.: 1961, 'The future of the North', North 8(2), pp. 1-13.Google Scholar
  30. Scott, C.H. and H.A. Feit: 1992, Income Security for Cree Hunters (McGill Programme in the Anthropology of Development, Montreal).Google Scholar
  31. Searles, E.: 1998, From Town to Outpost Camp: Symbolism and Social Action in the Canadian Eastern Arctic. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation (University of Washington, Seattle).Google Scholar
  32. Smith, E.A.: 1991, Inujjuamiut Foraging Strategies-Evolutionary Ecology of an Arctic Hunting Economy (Aldine de Gruyter, New York).Google Scholar
  33. Stephen R. Braund & Associates with P.J. Usher Consulting Services: 1993, Effects of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill on Alutiiq Culture and People. Prepared for Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll, and Sonosky, Chambers, Sachse, Miller & Munson. Anchorage, Alaska.Google Scholar
  34. Tanner, A.: 1979, Bringing Home Animals. Institute of Social and Economic Research, study no. 23 (Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's).Google Scholar
  35. Tough, F.J.: 1996, As Their Natural Resources Fail': Native Peoples and the Economic History of Northern Manitoba, 1870-1930 (University of B.C. Press, Vancouver).Google Scholar
  36. Usher, P.J.: 1971, The Bankslanders: Economy and Ecology of a Frontier Trapping Community. Volume Two: Economy and Ecology (Northern Science Research Group, Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Ottawa).Google Scholar
  37. Usher, P.J.: 1976, 'Evaluating country food in the northern native economy', Arctic 29(2), pp. 105-120.Google Scholar
  38. Usher, P.J.: 2002 (in press), 'Inuvialuit use of the Beaufort Sea and its resources, 1960-2000', Arctic 55 (supp. 1).Google Scholar
  39. Usher, P.J., M. Baikie, M. Demmer, D. Nakashima, M. G. Stevenson and M. Stiles: 1995, Communicating About Contaminants in Country Food: The Experience in Aboriginal Communities (Inuit Tapirisat of Canada, Ottawa).Google Scholar
  40. Usher, P.J. and M.S. Weinstein: 1991, Towards Assessing the Effects of Lake Winnipeg Regulation and Churchill River Diversion on Resource Harvesting in Native Communities in NorthernManitoba. Canadian Technical Report of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences Report 1794 (Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Winnipeg).Google Scholar
  41. Usher, P.J. and G. Wenzel: 1987, 'Native harvest surveys and statistics: A critique of their construction and use', Arctic 40(2), pp. 145-160.Google Scholar
  42. Wenzel, G.W.: 1991, Animal Rights, Human Rights-Ecology, Economy and Ideology in the Canadian Arctic(University of Toronto Press, Toronto).Google Scholar
  43. Wenzel, G.W.: 2000, 'Inuit subsistence and hunter support in Nunavut', in J. Dahl, J. Hicks and P. Jull (eds.), Nunavut: Inuit Regain Control of Their Lands and Their Lives. IWGIA Document no. 102 (International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs, Copenhagen), pp. 180-193.Google Scholar
  44. Wolfe, R.J.: 1986, 'The economic efficiency of food production in a western Eskimo population', in S.J. Langdon (ed.), Contemporary Alaskan Native Economies (University Press of America, Lanham, MD), pp. 101-120.Google Scholar
  45. Wolfe, R.J.: 1987, The Super-Household: Specialization in Subsistence Economies. Paper presented at the 14th annual meeting of the Alaska Anthropological Association, Anchorage.Google Scholar
  46. Wolfe, R.J., J.J. Gross, S.J. Langdon, J.M. Wright, G.K. Sherrod, L.J. Ellanna, V. Sumida and P.J. Usher: 1984, Subsistence-based Economies in Coastal Communities of Southwest Alaska. Division of Subsistence, Technical Paper no. 89 (Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Juneau).Google Scholar
  47. Wolfe, R.J. and R.J. Walker: 1987, 'Subsistence economies in Alaska: Productivity, geography, and development impacts', Arctic Anthropology 24, pp. 56-81.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter J. Usher
    • 1
  • Gérard Duhaime
    • 2
  • Edmund Searles
    • 2
  1. 1.P.J. Usher Consulting ServicesOttawa
  2. 2.GÉTICUniversité LavalQuébec

Personalised recommendations