Identity, self-sufficiency and well-being: The values of beaver and geese to the Moose Cree First Nation

Caroline Elizabeth Davis
Dept. of Human Ecology, University of Alberta
July, 2005


This document underscores complexity of values and the centrality of the forest in lives of the Moose Cree First Nation. Beaver, geese and associated activities are part of health, social relations, the development of Moose Cree youth, links to the past and the future, and self-sufficiency. A human ecology approach offers a holistic approach to exploring Aboriginal non-timber values. Ethnography was the over-arching method used for the research. Over the span of a year in the community, data was collected through semi-structured and unstructured interviews, participation in a wide range of community events (e.g., feasts, gatherings and meetings), observation of a wide range of non-timber harvesting activities (e.g., hunting, trapping and gathering) and oral histories. The results of this research emphasize that the health of individuals, cultures, economies and forests are entwined; the sustainability of northern Ontario forest development rests on nurturing the whole relationship the Moose Cree have with their environments.