Inuit Sustainable Livelihood: The Professional Hunter

Client: Ilisaqsivik Society
Date: 2017

For many years there have been efforts in Nunavut to develop ‘hunter support programs’. These programs have taken various approaches to provide resources (equipment, fuel, supplies, etc.) to hunters in order to support their activities and recognize their role in ensuring communities have access to healthy foods, as well as maintaining a culturally important livelihood and practice. With these programs having had various levels of success, there is still a need to find ways to support hunters and hunting/harvesting activities in northern communities. This project took a new approach to supporting hunters through a unique pilot study. The project approached hunting as a highly-valued career/position within the community and followed what happened when that ‘position’ was salaried at a full-time rate equal to other careers/positions (e.g. teacher, government worker, municipal official, etc.) – to give hunters a full-time position and the ability to practice their hunting full-time. The project tracked the impact of paying a hunter as a career, in terms of distribution of harvested products, but also more intangible social and personal benefits. The results of the project look to answer some key questions to help identify if this approach should be expanded for more full study.