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Author Button, David Michael
Title The role of fur trade technologies in adult learning: A study of selected Inuvialuit ancestors at Cape Krusenstern, NWT (Nunavut), Canada 1935--1947
book jacket
Descript 293 p
Note Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 69-12, Section: A, page: 4595
Thesis (Ed.D.)--University of Calgary (Canada), 2008
This thesis examines the application of fur-trade technology on the adult-learning process of five Inuvialuit ancestors who traded at Cape Krusenstern (Nuvuk), NWT (Nunavut), one of 51 Coronation Gulf-Holman trading sites operating in the contact-traditional period of 1935-1947
Cape Krusenstern Inuvialuit lived in an all-Inuit environment with their neighbours, the Inuinnait (Copper Eskimo) sharing a lifestyle focus on food, family and social connections. Living in semi-permanent family base camps near caribou-crossing areas and good fishing lakes or rivers, they used many of their ancestral Thule hunting and fishing technologies (kayak, dog team, iglu, ulu, umiak and soapstone lamp) to enjoy a subsistence lifestyle. Inuvialuit left their camps from April to October, travelling inland while caching food along the way for future needs. These journeys were characterized by the individual adult learning of subsistence living skills
Having added fur trapping to their subsistence practices in the 1920s, they set up lengthy traplines to trap predominantly white fox to trade. Abandoning their earlier aboriginal-era practice of December to March gatherings out on the sea ice at prearranged meeting or "knowing" places, Inuvialuit now chose to gather at trading-mission centres for shorter periods (Christmas, Easter). Though shorter in length, the significance of such multiple family gatherings was not diminished. There under the direction of their elders', enriched by Inuvialuit orature and traditional ways of knowing (non-verbal, intuitive, present time, spatial memory, reflective and spiritual), Inuvialuit participated in both individual and communal adult learning to develop community and cultural ties
Customary law was informal and flexible but relied heavily on social pressure to see that people acted according to traditional customs, practices and spiritual beliefs, and maintained cooperative values
All adult learning was based on an animistic worldview and belief in the integration of spirit with the physical world. Further, adult-learning choices were shaped by the belief that life's events are influenced by ayorama, that many things "can't be helped" or changed by individual or group learning, or intervention
Through contact with the trading post managers and the selection of store goods at the time of trading their furs, Inuvialuit were exposed to the influence of the global fur-trade economy as well as new ideas and material technologies. This did not affect traditional practices
I adapted methods from the discipline of history and used the procedures of document research. I analyzed written words in primary and secondary textual sources, particularly fur-trade records, Semmler trading post records, and Inuvialuit oral histories. I used anthropological research methods to explore the role of trade technology in Inuvialuit ways of knowing during the contact-traditional era
The results reveal that in exchanging white-fox pelts for trade goods, Inuvialuit supported traditional technologies by selecting scarce Inuit-made goods (food supplies) and resources (deerskins). In accordance with their practice of adapting new material technologies to ease the challenge of Arctic subsistence living, Cape Krusenstern Inuvialuit selected new goods such as boats, schooners, clothing, tools, sewing machines and new foods such as candy and chocolate, which prompted them to undertake new adult learning experiences. Other selections that had no connection to Inuit subsistence living (necktie, Big Ben clock, rings) reflect a dawning awareness of the Euro-Canadian or western worldview
In summary, as a result of successful white-fox fur trapping and trading, Inuvialuit selected traditional as well as new trade goods, prompting adult learning for individual skill development and "having." Of greater importance is Inuvialuit adult learning for community and cultural ties, which (through its attention to food, family and social connections and a comfortable "don't ask, don't tell" approach) promoted Inuvialuit "being." The data acts as a segment of a much longer timeline that demonstrates the adaptation of new technologies (a symbolic integration of product and knowledge) and the emergence of an Inuvialuit common ground through the intersection of traditional and western worldviews
School code: 0026
Host Item Dissertation Abstracts International 69-12A
Subject Anthropology, Cultural
Education, Adult and Continuing
Native American Studies
Alt Author University of Calgary (Canada)
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