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Geog162 Chapter 10 The North.docx

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Simon Fraser University
GEOG 162
Michele Wiens

Chapter 10 The North Territorial North-Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut This region extends over four physiographic regions-Canadian Shield, Interior Plains, Cordillera, and Arctic Lowlands -this is the region north of 60° N latitude -it is controlled by the federal government to a much greater extent than any of the provinces. Nunavut however, is the new territory with Inuit self-government The North (Arctic and Subarctic) Definition Arctic and Subarctic boundary is the 10° C isotherm for July, which is approximately equal to the treeline Treeline is not a line but a zone in which trees become fewer and smaller, until they are finally found in only the most favourable areas The Arctic includes very little of the Yukon -it mostly includes Nunavut and north and eastern parts of the Northwest Territories as well as northern parts of Ontario, Manitoba, Quebec, and Labrador Characteristics of the Arctic and Subarctic -low temperatures (little receipt of solar radiation) -low precipitation -poorly developed soils which are also permanently frozen (up to 1000m in depth) -low species diversity (simple food/energy chains) -cold and relatively stable marine waters, frozen much of the year Northeast Arctic-Inuit population; no summer; never warmer than 10° C; no trees; few resources Northwest Subarctic-Indian population and others; trees (slow growth rate); resource potential Characteristics of the Arctic Lowlands Arctic Seas-heavy ice for much or all of the year Ice free areas for approximately 100 days -southeastern Beaufort Sea in the western Arctic -Hudson Bay and Strait -Davis Strait in the eastern Arctic Central and High Arctic-ice doesn’t dissipate completely in the summer; build-up of multi-year ice Northwest of Arctic Islands-permanent ice cover Icebergs consist of freshwater ice breaking off -glaciers of Greenland and Ellesmere Island off the eastern Arctic coast drift south as far as Newfoundland before melting Fragile Environment-instability of permafrost soils, slow vegetative recovery, population instability, widely varying population cycles of wildlife, etc account for the fragile composition Implications-severe limits on resources such as human use of wildlife -importance of traditional ecological knowledge (knowledge accumulated over centuries of the environment and wildlife) Territorial North Cultural Geography Two Societies -product of Western culture and early French and English presence in North America -has its roots in Aboriginal cultures and the fur trade These societies can have different views of their area This region, despite its vastness has only 0.3% of Canada’s population. It has a large proportion of Dena and Inuit Environmental differences between the Arctic and Subarctic are reflected in the history of aboriginal occupation Arctic Cultural Geography Arctic is inhabited by Inuit; economy (livehood) is based on mineral resources and harvesting of marine resources and large migratory herds of terrestrial mammals (e.g. Caribou) -use of natural resources (stones, hides, animals, oils, etc) for shelter, heat, tools, etc -common language, numerous dialects. Eskimo extended from the top of Siberia to eastern Greenland (only about 20% live in Canada where they are known as Inuit) Subarctic Cultural Geography Subarctic is occupied by various Indian peoples 2 major linguistic groups -Athapaskan in the west -Algonquian in the east -within these groups are many distinct peoples and languages -economy depends on harvesting a combination of large and small game and fish -Dene is the term Athapaskan Indians use to describe themselves Non-native Population-Cultural Geography -have come to the north in large numbers since WWII -mainly government employment (mainly Arctic) and single industry resource towns (mainly subarctic) -most whites migrate to the north as temporary residents and return to the south Strongest links are north/south -Yukon is part of Vancouver’s hinterland -Mackenzie Valley is part of Edmonton’s -Keewatin is part of Winnipeg’s -Baffin Island is part of Montreal’s How Northerners View Themselves Frontier View-generally held by non-native residents -idea that the area has wealth and opportunity Homeland View-held by natives -idea that the north is neither a hinterland nor a frontier but an ancestral homeland which has undergone rapid change Southerners tend to view the North as cold, isolated, remote, extremely dark, uncomfortable Territorial North Resource Frontier Klondike Gold Rush (1898)-1 mineral development In accessible areas, there was mining, logging, fishing (major mining centres at Dawson, Elsa, Faro-lead, zinc, silver mines) In less accessible areas, commercial resource exploitation has an extraordinary value in relation to its mass -megaprojects -environmental and social impacts 50s/60s Green North decrease demand for resources, energy, and there was an increased activity in the north From Forgotten Frontier to Strategic Frontier Even 50 years after Confederation, there was no publicly employed doctors, teachers or administrators in the north This changed with the discovery of oil below Fort Norman on the Mackenzie river. The government created Northwest Territories and Yukon Branch of the Department of the interior and signed a treaty with the Dene Research Development Environmental
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