Respect for Grizzly Bears: an Aboriginal Approach for Co-existence and Resilience
Douglas A Clark, Wilfrid Laurier University; University of Alberta; Yukon College; Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies
D. Scott Slocombe, Wilfrid Laurier University
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Aboriginal peoples’ respect for grizzly bear (Ursus arctos
) is widely acknowledged, but rarely explored, in wildlife management discourse in northern Canada. Practices of respect expressed toward bears were observed and grouped into four categories: terminology, stories, reciprocity, and ritual. In the southwest Yukon, practices in all four categories form a coherent qualitative resource management system that may enhance the resilience of the bear-human system as a whole. This system also demonstrates the possibility of a previously unrecognized human role in maintaining productive riparian ecosystems and salmon runs, potentially providing a range of valued social-ecological outcomes. Practices of respect hold promise for new strategies to manage bear-human interactions, but such successful systems may be irreducibly small scale and place based.
bear ceremonialism; Champagne and Aishihik First Nations; Inuit; Inuvialuit; Northwest Territories; Nunavut; resilience; salmon; social-ecological system; Southern Tutchone; traditional ecological knowledge; Ursus arctos; Yukon