Adaptive responses of contemporary land activities in Wemindji, James Bay: cabins as a lens on change

Biodiversity and Indigenous Society
14:40, jeudi 19 déc. 2019 (15 minutes)
Salle EFG

Contemporary processes of adaptive responses of Indigenous communities navigating a range of social-ecological factors i.e. increased commitment to wage economy, changing family context and environmental challenges remain inadequately explored. Collectively these factors pose serious risks of diminished land-based knowledge and its intergenerational transmission. This paper offers an account of adaptive responses to rapidly changing social-ecological processes and their implications on relationships to land of a coastal Cree community in James Bay. Using cabins — a relatively recent adoption, we explore how Cree connection to land is being facilitated in Wemindji. While maintaining ties to land is central to community wellbeing and to the continuity of Cree knowledge. Over time this connection to the land and the many traditional land-based activities it supports have changed. Although today permanent cabins are common, many Elders and older adults recall spending weeks to months at a time, on family traplines as children often in temporary shelters. Similarly, while some Cree hunters continue to hunt year-round, others make shorter trips (usually weekends and vacation time) to their cabins and traplines by skidoo, motorboat, and vehicle. As such, these responses to contemporary pressures imply a shift in how and when people travel from town as well as while you are on the land. These responses among others also guide how, when, where and what animals and plants are harvested. Accordingly, these changes have implications on the evolution of Indigenous Knowledge production and relationship to land i.e. sense of place and sense of community with humans and more-than-human-others.

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