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Dwelling with Power: an ethnography with Gwich'in Harvesters

Tildelt: kr 70 000

The project concerns with movements and continuity of life for indigenous peoples, specifically Teetl"it Zheh Gwich"in, and critically asserts conventional ethnographic and anthropological research through focusing on "mundane" themes such as wood, trails , cabins, texts, and policies. Using the notion of narratives, this project attempts to bridge material culture studies, apprenticeship studies, linguistics, and political ecology together in a more holistic way and follows Tim Ingold"s argument that pers ons and things grow alongside each other. The project is based upon fifteen months of fieldwork with Teetl"it Zheh Gwich"in in northern Canada. During this fieldwork, I anticipated in everyday activities in and outside of the community of Fort McPherso n. These activities included working with the Gwich"in Social and Cultural Institute, attending political meetings, hunting, trapping, fishing, cutting wood, video-documenting cultural programs, participating in social activities, building a log cabin, an d living in a Gwich"in household. Through these experiences, the ethnography challenges previous anthropological work that has often neglected "mundane" themes and has often provided a biased picture of indigenous peoples. Trails, wood, and cabins nar rate particular skills and knowledge which the Gwich"in are attentive to and aware of. Furthermore, Gwich"in have been using texts for political and religious purposes. These texts also narrate skills, knowledge, and being-in-the-world and have been consi stently ignored in most of the ethnographic work conducted amongst the Gwich"in. This project attempts to draw the attention of anthropologists to "mundane" themes and bridges several studies and theories that have become problematically separated. Th e ethnography attempts to establish renewed methodological techniques in which attentiveness and awareness are products through the processes of making and living and working with indigenous peoples.