Northern animal husbandry : a land use for northern Manitoba
Payne, Charles Harvey
Northern animal husbandry is not a new Canadian (or North American) topic. However, attempts to develop northern animal industries in North America have a rather inauspicious history. The failures have been largely due to the changes in life-style which animal husbandry imposes on people who have traditionally fed and clothed themselves through hunting and gathering activities. Jenness (1967) outlined the traditional Chipewyan economy which reindeer husbandry would purport to replace: They followed the movements of the caribou spearing them in the lakes and rivers of the barren grounds during the summer, and snaring them in ponds and shooting them down with bows and arrows during the winter when they took shelter in the timber. Buffalo, musk-oxen, moose, and smaller game tided them over periods when caribou were lacking. Both the Eskimo and the Chipewyan depended heavily on caribou for subsistence. Hearne (1911), writing of the eighteenth century, considered the number of caribou skins required by native people to be quite high: "Each person, on average, expends in the course of a year, upwards of twenty deer (barren-ground caribou) skins in clothing and other domestic uses, exclusive of tent cloths, bags and many other things which it is impossible to remember." Caribou population decline was coincident with the coming of Europeans, firearms and the fur trade.