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Cree Hunters of Mistassini

Week 4 Lab Worksheet: “Cree Hunters of Mistassini”


The questions on this worksheet refer to the film assigned for this week, and address some important topics covered in this week’s lesson: prolonged childhood, cultural transmission, and the knowledge it takes to make a living by hunting and gathering. I highly recommend that you answer the questions while watching the film (i.e., don’t rely on memory when completing the worksheet).

Your answers should demonstrate that you understand the behavior or phenomenon and can identify it when you see it. This is a writing assignment: you must answer in complete sentences organized into a cohesive paragraph. Each question is worth 20 points.


Cree Hunters of Mistassini Questions

  1. Identify and describe three different capture techniques shown in the film (different techniques, not different species). Identify and describe one food preservation technique shown or referenced in the film. Identify and describe one example of tool/clothing manufacture shown in the film. Pick one of these and explain how it is an example of complex resource extraction (as defined in Lecture 3).


  1. Explain how the building of the lodge can be seen as an example of cooperative acquisition (Lecture 6) and division of labor. Identify 4 different tasks involved in the building of the lodge. Identify the age and gender class that performs each task (e.g., adult males, adolescent females, small children, etc.).


  1. How many logs did it take to build the lodge? What was the farthest distance that the logs had to be hauled? In light of the article on Martu children’s foraging, do you think size (“growing”), experience (“knowing”), or both prevent children from participating in this task? Explain your answer.


  1. According to the film, how do Cree children learn? According to the film, what specifically does a Cree mother teach her daughter? Explain whether or not these observations support Hewlett &Cavalli-Sforza’s findings on how Aka children learn daily life skills.


  1. In the Blurton Jones et al. (1994) article, we saw that !Kung children’s foraging is sharply limited by their habitat. Although the Cree environment is very different from that of the !Kung, it nevertheless presents barriers to children’s foraging. Identify two different features of the Cree environment that might limit children’s foraging, and explain how these features might limit their foraging.


  1. About 22 minutes into the film, we are told that the families are experiencing subsistence stress. What is the environmental fluctuation that causes their subsistence stress? What primary resources have been affected by this fluctuation (that is, what game are they not able to catch)? What coping strategy do the families use in response to the failure of these primary resources?


  1. Last week we looked at the use of prescribed burning to control resource availability and reduce the chances of subsistence stress. However, burning is not the only means that foragers use to manage their environment. What resource management technique do the Mistassini Cree use? Is it used primarily to control the quantity, timing, and/or location of resources? What resource(s) is this technique used to manage?


  1. About 30 minutes into the film, we see Sam Blacksmith teaching his son Malick how to hunt beaver. Identify one piece of information he presents about each of the following:

A vegetation cue–

Other beaver sign—

Beaver behavior—

A capture technique—


  1. About 13 minutes into the film, the hunters travel to check one of their bear traps. How long does this trip take them, in both time and distance? How many portages do they make? Discuss the constraints on children’s foraging (referenced in the readings and Lecture 18) that might explain why no children are taken on this trip.

Last Updated on September 15, 2018

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