“Neither pet, nor wild”: contemporary socio-cultural relationships between Inuit, Cree and dogs in Whapmagoostui-Kuujjuaraapik (Nunavik, Canada) - Laine Chanteloup & Thora M. Herrmann
4:45 PM, Saturday 5 Oct 2019 (30 minutes)
Sherbrooke Pavilion (SH) - SH-3140
Dogs play a prominent role in the cultural, societal and economic relationships of Inuit and First Nations. In the past, dogs have been at the heart of Inuit mobility or have been used as a working dog by various First Nations. Settler colonialism including the forced settlement led to a rapid change of Inuit and First Nations lifestyles which has also transformed the human-dog relationships. Although nowadays dogs retain a key role in Indigenous identities and cultures, they can nevertheless represent a source of risk for health and well-being because of the possible transmission of diseases (e.g. rabies) and risks of bites. These dog-related problems are exacerbated by the lack or limited access to veterinary services and issues related to canine overpopulation. In addition, alongside breeds traditionally present in communities such as the Husky or Malamute, new breeds of dogs are now brought from major urban centers of southern Canada that diversify the types of human-dog relationships. We examine these issues and in particular the evolution of socio-cultural relations between humans and dogs in the Inuit village of Kuujuaraapik and the Cree Nation of Whapmagoostui. Data are based on semi-structured interviews conducted with dog owners and decision makers involved in dog management in each community. Our findings show the diversity of human-dog linkages, and identify the differences and similarities in perceptions, values, attitudes, and uses related to dogs according to Inuit and Cree. Findings will contribute to the development of a common dog management plan in these two neighboring communities.