Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
This study documents the social process of economic and community development in the Omushkego (Western James Bay Cree) community Fort Albany, Ontario in the period 1994-1997. Informal and formal development planning defines the settlement's relationship to various other locations or social structures: regional and national economies; federal and regional levels of government; the territory drawn together in the traditional mixed economy. I examine these relationships through the experiences of day-to-day life in the settlement, where all community members participate in the mixed economy. The mixed economy encompasses harvesting and market oriented production within codes of reciprocity within the extended family. Residential households are thus interdependent in every feature of daily life, and this sharing ensures economic stability. Sharing resources, technology and work permits households to achieve self-sufficiency while individuals demonstrate their competence. The significant features of the mixed economy are thus at once economically and socially valuable, features that are promoted in community and economic development in the settlement. It is by making a link between the existing, distinctive settlement economy and development that the community strives to achieve social, political and economic authority within relations that often exploit and marginalize the settlement. Formal development strategies improve settlement infrastructure, and strengthen settlement institutions in ways that are consistent with the values of the mixed economy: increasing access to the means to be self-sufficient and to acquire competence. This settlement's entrepreneurs perform informal development, providing for their extended family, reproducing the values of the mixed economy and reducing outside exploitation of the settlement's cash economy. At both levels, locally invented development is a route to settlement self-sufficiency and self-determination, a conclusion framed here in the recommendations of the Final Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples.
Russell, Wendy Hayton, "Regaining Control: Community Development and Self-Determination in Fort Albany First Nation" (1998). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 2124.