'We ate lots of fish back then': The forgotten importance of fishing in Gwich’in country

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Abstract

This article attempts to reconcile the fact that fishing has been and continues to be a large part of the Gwich'in local economy with the fact that fishing has been neglected in both popular and scientific accounts of Gwich'in practice. The article puts forth an explanation for why fishing has been neglected while at the same time documenting the corpus of fishing activities included in the yearly round. It also situates fishing as an important, but largely underestimated, part of the Canadian fur trade and explains how fish came to be used by traders and Gwich'in in a system of advances that benefited both parties. As a so-called secondary activity, fishing is entangled in Gwich'in history and their current way of life, and this article challenges the idea that it can be easily separated from other land based activities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)343-353
Number of pages11
JournalPolar Record
Volume50
Issue number4
Early online date11 Nov 2013
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2014

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