“Out on the Land: Income, Subsistence Activities and Food Sharing Networks in Nain, Labrador”
Abstract: Throughout the history of Inuit ethnography, a major concern has been how and to what extent contemporary Inuk participate in and depend on subsistence activities, particularly in the context of increasing wage employment and growing participation in the cash economy. This paper provides an analysis of these activities in the predominately Inuit community of Nain, Labrador. Using social network analysis and demographic information collected between January and June 2010, we examine the interconnections between subsistence activities – obtaining “country food” through activities such as hunting and fishing – with access to the means of obtaining subsistence resources (such as snow mobiles, cabins and boats), employment status, and income. Our data indicate that individuals with higher employment status and income tend to be more central to the network of subsistence food sharing, but not because they have greater access to hunting tools or equipment (they do not). We conclude that those individuals who play the most central role in the network are those who are financially able to do so, regardless of access to hunting tools/means.
Keywords: Inuit, Subsistence, Employment, Social Network Analysis, Labrador