"But We Are Still Native People" - Tad McIlwraith's dissertation is online
Our fellow anthro-blogger Tad McIlwraith has successfully defended his dissertation "But We Are Still Native People’: Talking about Hunting and History in a Northern Athapaskan Village" that now can be downloaded from his website (The graduates in his year are the first who are able to request open access publication)
His dissertation is a study of hunting in the northern Athapaskan village of Iskut, British Columbia, Canada. Iskut hunting is a source of pride for Iskut people. Yet, hunting is sometimes stigmatized by outsiders with interests in the lands and natural resources of northern British Columbia. For some outside observers, he writes, modernization and acculturation are one-way processes. Traditions are better left in the past. At times, he found out, Iskut talk about hunting conveys those sentiments too. At other times, Iskut people strongly reject the stigma of labels like ‘impoverished’ or ‘nomadic’ that resonate in the words that have been written about Iskut people.
Tad McIlwraith indicates that the ethnographic inquiry into an Iskut culture was a profitable way to identify the importance of hunting to Iskut people and, thus, to offset the racism and stereotypes that are frequently associated with native lives.
He also argues that ethnoecological research and the Ethnography of Speaking both contribute useful methodological alternatives to Traditional Use Studies particularly when the documentation and interpretation of the varied expressions of hunting in Iskut Village is of concern.