Family Or Bureaucratic Traplines
|Release Date||30 July 2021|
|Rating||4/5 from 21 reviews|
This project examines the histories and afterlives of the Registered Trapline System established by the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) in the James Bay Region as a colonial project of the state. The Illilo of James Bay have been living in the territory since time immemorial, moving freely among and in relationship to the animals. The land has provided them with enough wildlife to help sustain themselves. The Illilowuk (Crees) shared the land alongside others. Life began to change for the Illilo with the arrival of Europeans to the territory in the late 1600’s. The arrival of settlers brought new technologies to the region. Fur Trade relations also changed traditional trade relationships. In the late 1940s and the early 1950s, the Ontario government established bureaucratic traplines throughout Ontario, which were a particular expression of the settler state and relationships between Ililo and non-Ililo on the coast of James Bay. This project will examine these traplines on the James Bay Coast with a particular focus on the community of Kashechewan First Nation, exploring the impact of registered traplines on the Illilu way of life. My thesis asks the following questions: How were these traplines created? How did the Illilowuk react to the changes with regards to land ownership/possession? This research is important for understanding settler-state relationships with the Illilowuk of James Bay. It examines the policies that Ontario Government imposed on the Illilowuk without regards for rights guaranteed by Treaty No. 9. In this thesis, I will argue that the Omushkegowuk experienced various forms of state control over their harvesting rights. The state-controlled access to lands and animals in ways that undermined the rights that are guaranteed with the signing of Treaty No. 9 that my ancestors signed. With this research I worked with Elders and community members who still carry this knowledge and live and work in relationships with the land and the animals. I also integrated my knowledge of hunting and trapping in the region, as well as my own relationship to the territory. Elders are still very vocal about these changes and reflect on how these traplines changed their way of life. To this day,the trapline system continues to be used.