Woods Cree women's labour within the subsistence-based mixed economy of Pelican Narrows, Saskatchewan
The subsistence-based mixed economy of Northern Canada is both productive and essential to community life and survival (Berger, 1977; Brody, 1981 ; Wenzel, 1981; Asch, 1982; Fait, 1982; Usher, 1982). Usher further states that this economy needs to be maintained for its economic value and fundamental linkages to social and cultural conditions. Most researchers state that the productivity of this economy depends on the interdependency of women's and men's work; however, within the extensive literature on this subject few writers examine the labour of women. The purpose of this thesis is to document and analyze Woods Cree women's labour within the subsistence-based mixed economy. Their labour, which is embedded in the profoundly different voice of Woods Cree culture, is best understood through detailed case studies. Oral histories were collected from three generations of Woods Cree Women aged sixteen to seventy, covering the period between 1900 and 1989. Usher's analytical framework of the anatomy of the Northern economy is a most useful model; however, it required some adjustment in order to address genderaffected production. The feminist critiques of Delphy and Nicholson are used in analyzing the nature of women's labour. The research found that although Woods Cree women's labour has changed over time and space, it is still essential to the functioning and maintenance of the subsistence-based mixed economy.