Project 4a: Rethinking the "Informal" Economy of the Canadian North: Linkages Between Wildlife Harvesting and Income Support Programs

Research Team

Damian Castro, Memorial University of Newfoundland (PhD Candidate)
Dr. David Natcher, University of Saskatchewan (dan130 at

Project Description

Despite calls to end the characterization of northern Aboriginal peoples as being caught between the contrary demands of wage and subsistence economies, Canada's northern economy continues to be characterized as having two distinct economic sectors - subsistence and cash. This form of dualisms has, in effect, created a dialectic between subsistence and wage economies that is not only disadvantageous to Aboriginal peoples but detracts from a more critical and informed understanding of the complex nature of Aboriginal economies. The objective of this research is to help dispel the dualistic characterization of Aboriginal economies by examining the relationship between wildlife harvesting and various income support programs that provide compensation and other forms of support to Aboriginal harvesters. This includes various market mechanisms that are used to promote the production and sale of land-based resources. By examining the objectives and outcomes of these government and industry supported programs the nested relationship between the “formal” the “informal” economies of Aboriginal communities will be made more apparent and a more nuanced understanding of the northern social economy will be derived.

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