Economic Strategies, Community, and Food Networks in Ulukhaktok, Northwest Territories, Canada


  • Peter Collings



Inuit, Canada, climate change, social networks, subsistence, food sharing


This paper examines the social networks of country food sharing in Ulukhaktok, Northwest Territories, Canada, in light of our current understanding of the relationship between climate change and Arctic peoples. Most recent work on the impacts of climate change on Arctic peoples has tended to focus on conceptual frameworks appropriate for this field of inquiry or to document perceived threats of climate change. This research incorporates a social network approach to document the association between different economic strategies (full-time worker, part-time worker, hunter) and categories of kin. It demonstrates that the sharing patterns of hunters favor the cultivation of ties with distant and collateral kin, while those of wage earners favor ties with parents and siblings. These different affiliations point to different vulnerabilities to change. For example, hunters pursue a strategy that provides the flexibility and connections necessary for adapting to changing environ­mental circumstances but increases their vulnerability to economic and political changes that restrict their ability to generate cash. Wage workers, despite a steady income, are more vulnerable to environmental change as it affects traveling conditions, potential hazards, and hunting success.