Landscape of Culture

Examining the Impacts of the George River Caribou Herd Hunting Ban on Northern Labrador Inuit: an Integrated Resource Management Perspective


Jason Dicker



My research project uses a qualitative approach to understand the Indigenous social concerns surrounding the George River Caribou Herd (GRCH) hunting ban, with a specific focus on the impacts for northern Labrador Inuit. Labrador Inuit depended on the GRCH, once one of the largest caribou herds in the world, to fulfil their utilitarian, spiritual, and cultural needs. For generations, the hunting of the GRCH by the Inuit provided them with a staple food supply, nourishment, and materials, and facilitated the intergenerational sharing of knowledge and important social norms, all of which are critical to life in Arctic and subarctic environments.

The supporting framework examined and critically assesed in this research is the Public Trust Doctrine (PTD), which is currently the cornerstone of the North American Model of Wildlife Management. The PTD holds that specific natural resources such as fish, wildlife and water resources are held in trust by the government for the benefit of all people. Importantly, applying an integrated resource management (IRM) approach will bridge the gap between the social, natural, and political needs concerning wildlife management. IRM is the process that identifies and considers all resource use and management emphasis based on current uses, the combination of benefits produced, the ongoing capability of the land to produce benefits as well as social preferences. The theory behind this management is that it requires various types of complex information for sound and effective decision-making.

I have conducted interviews with individuals in all five Nunatsiavut communities from July-August 2018 and November 2018. The methods that I am using and writing about will be to evaluate the PTD and IRM. The results from both will provide the basis for a Nunatsiavut specific IRM. Taking this approach with respect to the GRCH hunting ban that is currently in northern Labrador would be beneficial as it has the opportunity to provide scholarly information on how this affects Inuit within this region.

I am open to any opportunities related to my research or background in relation to environmental and resource management—anything of the sort in the social sciences. I plan to return to Nunatsiavut in the fall of 2019 to share my research findings with each community. Given that I have started my new position with the Nunatsiavut Government as their Wildlife Manager, taking on this role will allow me to use the knowledge that I have gained in my graduate career and apply it within this role and field.