Conflicting Styles of Life in a Northern Canadian Town


  • Alexander M. Ervin





Discusses observations made in Inuvik June-Oct 1966 as part of the Mackenzie Delta Research Project. The Delta natives find that the concentrated communities into which they are being relocated are transient-white oriented and dominated, lack connection with their former fishing-hunting-trapping economy. Indians, Eskimos, metis, northern-born whites and a few recently settled whites as a group have subordinate status to the transient whites who occupy the serviced area of Inuvik and maintain a separate socio-economic life style. The natives' difficulty of adjustment is attributed to their inherited culture with its values of indulgence and sharing, its derogation of conspicuous status-seeking, their habits of unscheduled work, independence, and general lack of job orientation resulting in absenteeism. The general frustration fosters heavy drinking at great social and economic cost, and the feeling of individual alienation. The economic and historical setting of the Delta region, population and age structure of its natives are dealt with, as are ethnic and life style factors in Inuvik. A town plan showing settlement patterns is included.