The use of snowmobiles for trapping on Banks Island   /   Usher, P.J.
Arctic, v. 25, no. 3, Sept. 1972, p. 170-181
ASTIS record 10188

The village of Sachs Harbour on Banks Island, Northwest Territories, has been the outstanding example of a successful trapping community in northern North America for a generation .... Trapping is still the full-time occupation of virtually every active male, and per capita income from trapping is higher than in any other settlement in the Arctic or Subarctic. Eighty-seven per cent of cash income at Sachs Harbour was derived from trapping during the years 1963 to 1967, and the average income of full-time trappers from furs was $6,296. The sole basis of the fur harvest is the arctic or white fox, although the people also rely on 3 other major resources for their livelihood: caribou, seal, and polar bears. In recent years, the fewer than 20 trappers on Banks Island have accounted for as much as one-third of Canadian arctic fox production, indicating not only their own productivity but also the decline of trapping in other areas of the North. ... The explanation for such high productivity lies not in ecology, or even primarily in economics, but rather in the unique history of the Canadian Western Arctic coast, and the resulting social and economic orientations of its people .... The Bankslanders, as they call themselves, are acquisitive and proud. They are strongly motivated towards trapping as the most appropriate means of achieving both economic success and the prestige traditionally brought by conspicuous consumption. ... The Bankslanders have a tradition of innovation. They are quick to test new means of production, and to invest money in high quality capital goods which have proven their worth. ... The trapping and hunting system on Banks Island is probably the most modern of its type in the world, relying on the best available technology, and the most productive systems of organization and marketing. ... The snowmobile has been gradually integrated into the Banks Island trapping system over a decade. Caution and astuteness have marked its acceptance. It would appear that it will not have any profound effects on the system. Temporarily the snowmobile constitutes a considerable extra economic burden, and although this will very likely diminish, it cannot but increase production costs. Although it will probably not increase trapline productivity significantly, it will provide more leisure time during the trapping season, and more free time for the assumption of temporary wage positions during the summer months. As a result, total net income will probably increase, and with reduced reliance on fox pelts as the sole source of cash, the cyclic pattern of income from year to year should be reduced. Harvests of all species should remain within sustainable limits, and some species will be harvested at lower levels than at present. There do not appear to be any serious effects on animal behaviour. The snowmobile is only one of many forces that will change the social system at Sachs Harbour. The encroachment of government administration and private resource development, both of which accelerated greatly in the summer of 1970, will be of far more profound consequence than the snowmobile. Data on trapping effort and productivity from 1970 onwards will therefore have to be interpreted in the light of these events as well as of the transition to snowmobiles, which is now, in 1972, virtually complete.

Physical characteristics of near-shore ice ridges   /   Bryan, M.L.   Marcus, M.G.
Arctic, v. 25, no. 3, Sept. 1972, p. 182-192, ill., maps
ASTIS record 10189

Investigations of the morphology and composition of near-shore ice ridges were conducted on the southern shore of Lake Superior near Grand Marais, Michigan, and at other Great Lakes locations during 1970 and 1971. Data are given for ice densities, sediment load, temperature and internal arrangements of ice forms. A cross-sectional map of the gross structure of one ice ridge is also presented. The basic internal appearance of the ridges is similar to that of conglomerate rock, and little stratification occurs. These ridges are seldom discussed in the literature but commonly appear along the shorelines of the Great Lakes. It is suggested that they are developed primarily as a product of wind and spray processes and are not to be confused with pressure ridge and ice thrust features.

Group cohesion and leadership response by barren-ground caribou to man-made barriers   /   Miller, F.L.   Jonkel, C.J.   Tessier, G.D.
Arctic, v. 25, no. 3, Sept. 1972, p. 193-202, ill., maps
ASTIS record 10190

Barren-ground caribou Rangifer tarandus groenlandicus of the Kaminuriak population on the Canadian mainland west of Hudson Bay make annual migrations of several hundred kilometres to and from their calving ground. A man-made barrier to corral caribou for marking and release failed because caribou would not leave the frozen water course at the entrance to the corral, nor would they readily deviate from learned travel routes. Some caribou delayed their migration northward until they found ways to circumvent the barrier. Other caribou overcame the man-made obstacle and continued on their set course. Any disruption of caribou movement could be detrimental to cow and calf survival because of increased dangers along new routes chosen and the delay of pregnant cows in reaching the calving grounds.

Psychiatric problems and cultural transitions in Alaska   /   Bloom, J.D.
Arctic, v. 25, no. 3, Sept. 1972, p. 203-215
ASTIS record 10191

Demographic characteristics of 105 Alaska Native patients referred for psychiatric evaluation are reviewed. Reasons for the referral are discussed and the psychiatric findings according to the DSM-II classification of the American Psychiatric Association are summarized. Particular attention is paid to the socio-cultural environments from which the patients came. The patient population is dominated by women whose "career" seems to be distinctly different from that of the men in the sample. The pertinent psychological and anthropological literature is presented to give current conceptual models for understanding psychiatric problems in the cross-cultural framework.

Seasonal and latitudinal variations in circadian rhythms of red-backed vole   /   Stebbins, L.L.
Arctic, v. 25, no. 3, Sept. 1972, p. 216-224, ill.
ASTIS record 10192

Circadian rhythms of two allopatric species, Clethrionomys gapperi and C. rutilus were studied near their common border at Heart Lake, Northwest Territories, Canada, in winter and spring of 1965-1966. Circadian rhythms of C. gapperi were also studied at Edmonton, Alberta, in the winter and spring of 1964-1965. Activity was measured by recording passages through a door in cages exposed to normal meteorological conditions of the forest floor. Daily peaks of activity of each species were of longer duration and higher amplitude in spring than in winter. C. rutilus was polyphasic in winter, nocturnal in spring. C. gapperi at Heart Lake was nocturnal in winter but had peaks of activity persisting from dusk each evening to noon of the following day. C. gapperi at Edmonton was diurnal in all seasons.

Efficiency of winter scavengers in the Arctic   /   Mullen, D.A.   Pitelka, F.A.
Arctic, v. 25, no. 3, Sept. 1972, p. 225-231
ASTIS record 10193

Frozen carcasses of brown lemmings, Lemmus trimucronatus, were systematically placed under the snow in various tundra habitats in the fall of 1961 (188), 1962 (201) and 1963 (205) near Barrow, Alaska. Only 8 carcasses were recovered in the following springs. Removal of the carcasses is attributed to: arctic fox (Alopex lagopus) and red fox (Vulpes fulva); brown lemming; the least weasel (Mustela rixosa). Observations of behaviour, systematic trapping and examination of scats were used to suggest the relative importance of these consumers of lemming carrion in the order given above. The inability of investigators of lemming population cycles to find the carcasses of lemmings that die during the winter months is explained by the unusual efficiency of these species in locating and using frozen carrion during the winter months.

The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, 1971   /   Harrison, G.S.
Arctic, v. 25, no. 3, Sept. 1972, p. 232-233
ASTIS record 10194

The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 18 December 1971 is the most significant piece of federal legislation dealing with Alaska since the Alaska Statehood Act of 1958. The settlement is the largest single Native claims settlement in the history of the United States, and it has far-reaching consequences for the political and economic future of Alaska. ... the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act is the sequel to the Alaska Statehood Act. Indeed, it can be thought of as a kind of statehood act for the Native people, for like the Statehood Act, the Native Claims Settlement Act is designed to promote political independence and economic well-being through natural resource development. Statehood for Alaska resulted from an internal political drive that spanned almost half a century. ... the heart of the Statehood Act was the provision that granted to the new State the right to select some 104 million acres of land from federal holdings, with the exception of any Native lands, which were undefined. When the Natives claimed that much of the land initially chosen by the State was theirs by virtue of historical use and occupancy, the Secretary of the Interior late in 1966 imposed a moratorium, or freeze, on all further dispositions of federal land in Alaska pending a final resolution of the Native land issue by Congress. A speedy determination of Native land rights became a political and economic imperative for the state government ..., and even more so shortly after when massive oil fields were discovered at Prudhoe Bay and the land freeze became an obstacle to construction of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline. ... Economic development is the idée fixe of the Settlement Act just as it was the idée fixe of the Alaska Statehood Act. Fee title to a large amount of land, mineral and timber rights, profit corporate structures, ownership stocks, revenue sharing, and all the rest make it clear that the and claims settlement was intended primarily as a vehicle for natural resource development in Alaska. ... The effects of the Settlement Act on the political balance of the State will be enormous. The Natives and their organizations now have control of two resources that guarantee them a permanent, prominent place in Alaska politics, namely, money and land. ... Because of its economic development orientation, the Settlement Act may very well lead to an intensification of the long-standing development versus conservation conflict in Alaska .... However, on many issues, even development issues, there may not be anything that resembles a unified Native position. For its part, the state government does not regard the Natives as its prime political antagonist. That role is still reserved for its traditional enemy, the federal government. ... Indeed, the acceptance of the land claims settlement by all of the established economic interests in Alaska - the state government the corporate mineral developers, the chambers of commerce, the independent miners, and the labour interests - stems from the fact that it does not substantially redistribute existing wealth among those groups in the State. Rather, it promises to increase the total amount of wealth available to all; the Natives, for the first time, included. ... The Natives carefully made their economic development interests known to the public and to government officials. ... the land claims movement in Alaska had a very conservative style, marked by repeated references to the welfare of "all Alaskans" and frequent displays of the symbols of American political life. To be sure, the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971, with its overriding commitment to economic development, is very much in the American, and Alaskan, political tradition.

The vascular flora of limestone hills, northern extension of the Ogilvie Mountains, Yukon Territory   /   Porsild, A.E.
Arctic, v. 25, no. 3, Sept. 1972, p. 233-236, ill.
ASTIS record 10195

Owing to its relative inaccessibility the flora of unglaciated central and northern Yukon, from 65°N to the Arctic Coast, and between the 136°W and 141°W, has until recently remained totally unexplored. The Dempster Highway, still under construction, will provide an easy access to what until now was the largest botanically unknown part of Canada. ... From 3 to 12 July 1970, my brother ... and I made a hurried trip along the southern part of the Dempster Highway to visit places between the North Klondike Pass and Mile 89 where he had made large collections of vascular plants ... during the summers of 1966 and 1968. ... Beyond Mile 89 a few days were spent examining the flora of light-gray limestone hills that form a northward extension of the Ogilvie Mountains, at approximately 65°20'N, 138°30'W, south of Mile 100 to 110 on the Dempster Highway and thus beyond the point accessible by road to R. T. Porsild, in 1968. In strong contrast to the more fertile and better vegetated southern Ogilvie Mountains between the North Klondike Pass and Mile 89, the much lower northward extension of the Ogilvie Mountains, at approximately 65°03'N presents a strange and weird landscape of dendritically eroded plateaus of a general elevation about 3,500 feet above sea-level .... screes and ridges [are] covered by a pale-grey mantle of huge, angular blocks of frost-shattered grey limestone, [and are] often totally or nearly devoid of vegetation .... Soil is either totally absent, or at best confined to small pockets that may harbour tufts of mosses among which may be seen individual plants such as Oxyria digyna, Saxifraga oppositifolia or Luzula confusa, that only there could have gained a precarious foothold. Growing from deep down amongst the rocks, we were surprised also to find occasional specimens of the otherwise exceedingly rare Smelowskia borealis, here mainly sterile and etiolated, because of the shady habitat. ... About 50 species of vascular plants, nearly all pronounced calciphiles, were noted on the lower third of a southwest-facing slope, most of them growing in the ravines. By far the most common were Kobresia myosuroides and Dryas sylvatica. ... Stony flood plain valley bottom is oriented southeast-northwest between low limestone hills [directly south of Mile 110 of the Dempster Highway]. Starting at the head of the valley, the following more or less distinct plant habitats were examined in some detail: 1) Well-drained gravelly or sandy stream banks, the down-stream parts subject to spring flooding; 2) Dry, stony ridges usually with some soil around or between the stones; 3) Moist flood-plain meadows; 4) Moist, peaty bogs well above present flooding; 5) Low willow thickets, mostly on boulder flats between former stream beds but no longer subject to flooding; the space between boulders now well filled by sediments topped by a humus layer; the older and mature willow thickets are now being invaded by white spruce .... [Plants found in each of the above 5 habitats are listed.]

The role of spring thaw in string bog genesis   /   Thom, B.G.
Arctic, v. 25, no. 3, Sept. 1972, p. 236-239, 1 ill.
ASTIS record 10196

... it is necessary to establish a more thoroughly documented framework of current physical processes operating in string bogs throughout the year. It is to this end that the present note is directed. Two problems immediately present themselves in any discussion of string bog genesis. First, there is the need to explain the initial establishment and maintenance of the ridge-hollow pattern; and second, the related problem of the concentration of string bogs in the boreal forest. ... observations near Schefferville, Quebec (54°50'N, 67°W) in the spring of 1970 are specially pertinent to explaining patterns within string bogs. Permafrost is absent from beneath these string bogs. ... There is no doubt that in the subarctic, spring thaw is rapid and debris of various kinds is transported by the meltwater over the frozen surface of the bog. Several stages in the melt-transportation process can be recognized. 1) The thaw is first evident on the thin snow cover of the bog with the development of a mixture of slush, ice and open pools. 2) Additional melt involves the removal of snow from the surface of the bog. ... 3) Pools become linked as the volume of meltwater increases with advance of the thaw. ... 4) Continued and perhaps more rapid melt of snow lying adjacent to the bog from within the spruce forests, augments the sheet flow. ... 5) With the removal of the bog ice cover, sheet flow over the bog ceases, and the meltwater becomes more channelized. ... In the bog near Schefferville where these processes were observed, incipient accumulations of the type described were only noted at the upstream end of a bog in which strings had already been developed down-bog. Where strings were already in existence, the damming effect was most apparent, although its importance declined down-bog as the floating organic debris was trapped or filtered by plants up-bog. Lines of debris accumulation are therefore considered initially to develop into permanent sites for plant growth at the downstream end of the bog, and then progressively build in an up-bog direction always at right angles to flow patterns of spring meltwater. "Younger" strings, according to this view, will occur at progressively higher elevations within any given bog. ... it is assumed that the sites of detrital deposition become the preferred sites for plant growth because of their relatively better-drained condition. ... Once started, such a process will accelerate by its own effects. ... Although excavations in the Schefferville area were not conclusive, ... the hypothesis of in situ growth of strings was supported by bog stratigraphy. ... Emphasis is placed on the primary role of organic accumulations during early phases of the spring thaw, a period of the year when few observers have had the opportunity to examine such bogs. A vital role is attributed to the more intense plant growth on initial shallow deposits which leads to the formation of the ridge. Ice-push and frost heave appear to play secondary and perhaps localized functions. Solifluction, differential settling and tilting due to permafrost melt, and compaction of peats under varying loads, are not factors which appear to be of great importance in string bog development. There remain several critical problems which require further study ....

An albino muskox near the Atkinson Point River, Northwest Territories   /   Kuyt, E.   Schroeder, C.H.   Brazda, A.R.
Arctic, v. 25, no. 3, Sept. 1972, p. 239-240, 1 ill.
ASTIS record 10197

Gavin during his stay near the mouth of the Perry River (67°48'N, 102°16'W) from 1937-1941 reported only few muskoxen. The largest herds were 12 and 15, seen in 1938 on the mainland a few miles west of the mouth of the Perry River. Aleksiuk saw no muskoxen during his period of field work in the Perry River area from 21 May to 10 August 1963 but reported that, according to local Eskimos, muskoxen were still found in the region of MacAlpine Lake, at the headwaters of Perry River. During waterfowl surveys on 11, 15, and 16 August 1971, between Perry River and the Atkinson Point River (103°18'W) and between 67°10'N and 67°45'N we saw the following numbers of muskoxen: 1, 26, 48, 1, 1, 23, 16, 1, 1. Dates of observation of herds, their location and numbers of yearlings preclude the possibility of duplication. Of particular interest was the occurrence of a light-coloured individual in the herd of 23 observed on 15 August along the Atkinson Point River at 67°45'N, 103°18'W. The animal in question was a large adult of a pale creamy-yellow colour. Photographs taken at the time show the animal to be accompanied by a yearling of normal colouration. At first the pale-coloured individual was thought to be a bull but the persistent proximity of the yearling and the adult's behaviour in running at the forefront of the herd when chased (in opposition to bulls which normally follow the herd) suggested that the muskox in question was a cow.... We were unable to get a good look at the cow's horns but they appeared paler than in muskoxen having the typical pelage; just then we had run into low cloud and rain and were in fact retreating to our camp on the Perry River. Only one albino muskox has been recorded previously. Tener quotes McDougall's observation of an adult albino cow muskox on 18 June 1853 at Cape Smyth, Melville Island. That cow was followed by a black calf.

© Arctic Institute of North America. Records from this database may be used freely for research and educational purposes, but may not be used to create databases or publications for distribution outside your own organization without prior permission from ASTIS.