2012-2013 Colloquium Series
Nelson Graburn (Professor Emeritus, Anthropology, UC Berkeley) and Elspeth Ready (PhD Candidate, Anthropology, Stanford) will present, Experiments in Inuit Tourism: The Eastern Canadian Arctic
Friday, November 30, 5:00 PM
Faculty Staff Lounge, Kroeber Hall (Next to the Gifford Room)
University of California, Berkeley
Tourism to the Eastern Canadian Arctic has been operating sporadically for fifty years, with the attractive combination of hunting, fishing and paying attention to Inuit arts and crafts. The paper discusses different kinds of experiments in Inuit tourism, and queries the notion of "selling out." One common feature is the variety of forms of cooperation between Inuit and non-Inuit with the partners drawing on two sets of cultural capital in the "white" and Inuit worlds. Early efforts were organized by Austin Airways and the Povirnituk Inuit Cooperative, spearheaded by Father Steinmann OMI and NSO Pat Furneaux and leading Povirnituk Inuit, and on Baffin Island, the West Baffin Eskimo Coop, led by Jim Houston and the Putuguk family, and later Terry Ryan. Sportsman Bobby May, married to Nancy, an Inuit woman, ran a hunting lodge at Kangirkjualukjuak [George River], Quebec, flying his own plane in the 1960-70s. Since the James Bay Treaty (1975) the creation of Nunavut (1999) and subsequent Inuit local control and available capital through land claims, tourism has emerged as a major potential for economic development. This possibility is only realized in many Inuit villages through the lucrative licensing of sport hunting of Polar Bears. Only one major area, Pangnirtung, Baffin Island, attracts more than a few hundred people a year to visit and "trek" in Auyuittuk National Park with its glaciers and rugged mountains. Private ventures are few, but may be typified by "Huit Huit Tours" run by Timun Alariaq and his Finnish wife Kristiina in Cape Dorset. They offer dog sled trips to the floe edge in the winter and canoeing and ATV trips over the tundra in the summer, and access to the West Baffin Eskimo Coop's art studios. Cruise ships have become more numerous, but tourists on many of them spend little time ashore and focus mainly in wildlife and Arctic sea and landscapes. When they visit small communities, there are tensions as well as rewards, thus such visits are sporadic. One recent development is "domestic" i.e. local tourism by employed Inuit and other residents visiting with the Arctic where they live.
Nelson Graburn was educated at Cambridge, McGill and U of Chicago (PhD 1963). He has conducted research in the Canadian eastern Arctic (and Greenland and Alaska) since 1959, in Japan since 1974 and China since 1991. His main research interests have focused on kinship, social structure and change, ethnic arts and identity, tourism, museums and cultural heritage.
Among his recent books are:
- (2009) Current Themes in Indigenous Tourism. Special Issue of London Journal of Tourism, Sport and Creative Industries. 2 (1) co-edited with Alexis Bunten.
- (2010) Tourism and Glocalization: Perspectives in East Asian Studies. Suita, Osaka: National Museum of Ethnology, Han Min and Nelson Graburn (eds.)
- (2011) Exploring Ethnicity and the State Through Tourism in East Asia. Kanazawa University Japan-China Intangible Cultural Heritage Project, edited by John Ertl and N. Graburn.
Elspeth Ready is a PhD candidate in anthropology at Stanford University. Her research interests are focused on human subsistence ecology, especially the role of environmental variability in affecting food security and nutrition, both today and in the past. Ready uses archaeology, ethnography, and modeling to understand how foraging peoples obtain sufficient food (or not), why they choose particular foods, and how environmental variability---and its impact on the food quest---has shaped the human career. Her dissertation research in Nunavik examines how contemporary climate change is affecting the hybrid market-subsistence economy of the Canadian Arctic and the food security of Inuit households. She also participates in archaeological projects investigating Dorset and Thule occupations in Nunavik and hunting behaviours in Western Europe during the Palaeolithic. Elspeth graduated in 2008 with a B.A. Honours in Anthropology from the University of Alberta, and completed an M.A. in Anthropology at Trent University in 2010.