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After the collapse of the plains bison in the late nineteenth century, conservationists in the Canadian government were determined that the same fate not befall the large herds of grazing animals then still roaming the Northwest Territories. However, Aboriginal people depended on big game for food and clothing. How would they respond to the creation of game regulations, national parks, and game sanctuaries on lands where they had hunted for generations?
"Hunters at the Margin" examines the conflict between Native hunters and conservationists over three big game species: the wood bison, the muskoxen, and the caribou. John Sandlos argues that the introduction of wildlife conservation to the Northwest Territories was central to the assertion of state authority over the traditional hunting cultures of the Dene and Inuit. However, archival research undermines the assumption that conservationists were motivated solely by an enlightened preservationism, revealing evidence that commercial considerations were integral to wildlife management in Canada.
"Hunters at the Margin" draws on themes from Canadian, environmental, and ecological history, Northern studies, and Native studies to illuminate the intersection between the discourse of wildlife conservation and the expansion of state power in northern Canada.