Hunters at the Margin

Native People and Wildlife Conservation in the Northwest Territories

John Sandlos

  • Published: 2007. Paperback 2008
  • Subject Listing: Native American and Indigenous Studies
  • Bibliographic information: 352 pp., 6 x 9 in.
  • Territorial rights: US rights only
  • Distributed for: UBC Press
  • Contents

In the late nineteenth century, to the alarm of government conservationists, the North American plains bison population collapsed. Yet large herds of other big game animals still roamed the Northwest Territories, and Aboriginal people depended on them for food and clothing.

Hunters at the Margin examines the conflict in the Northwest Territories between Native hunters and conservationists over three big game species: the wood bison, the muskox, and the caribou. John Sandlos argues that the introduction of game regulations, national parks, and game sanctuaries was central to the assertion of state authority over the traditional hunting cultures of the Dene and Inuit. His archival research undermines the assumption that conservationists were motivated solely by enlightened preservationism, revealing instead that commercial interests were integral to wildlife management in Canada.

Hunters at the Margin draws on themes from Canadian, environmental, and ecological history, Northern studies, and Native studies to illuminate the intersection between the discourse of wildlife conservation and the expansion of state power in northern Canada.

With deft prose and an array of revealing case studies, John Sandlos presents a powerful new interpretation of Canada's conservation policies in the Northwest Territories. Hunters at the Margin could not be more central to current efforts to rethink the histories of nature and Native peoples alike. - Karl Jacoby, author of Crimes Against Nature
Maps, Tables, Figures
Foreword: The Enigmatic North / Graeme Wynn
Introduction: Wildlife and Canadian History

Part 1: Bison
1. Making Space for Wood Bison
2. Control on the Range
3. Pastoral Dreams

Part 2: Muskox
4. The Polar Ox

Part 3: Caribou
5. La Foule! La Foule!
6. To Save the Wild Caribou
7. The Caribou Crisis