The demographic consequences of European contact with Labrador Inuit, 1800-1919

Scheffel, David (1980) The demographic consequences of European contact with Labrador Inuit, 1800-1919. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

[img] [English] PDF (Migrated (PDF/A Conversion) from original format: (application/pdf)) - Accepted Version
Available under License - The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.

Download (20Mb)
  • [img] [English] PDF - Accepted Version
    Available under License - The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.
    (Original Version)

Abstract

This study is concerned with the demographic situation of Labrador Inuit between the years 1800 and 1919. It is shown that the acculturation process initiated by Moravian missionaries had an adverse influence on the balance between population and resources and the physical health of the Inuit. The missionaries discontinued aboriginal population controls, and destroyed the traditional health care system. However, due to the particular characteristics of the Moravian Church, suffering and death were viewed as desirable and the physical state of the Inuit was not given much attention. Therefore, overpopulation, epidemics, and the lack of health care led to a demographic disaster, characterized by falling fertility levels, decreasing expectations of life, and increasing infant and child mortality. It is claimed that although all the Labrador Inuit were subjected to this development, a correlation can be found between the gravity of the demographic disaster and the degree of acculturation of particular populations of Labrador Inuit. Less acculturated settlements were characterized by healthier inhabitants. -- It is shown that whereas the acculturative process had a tremendous impact on the lives of the Inuit, the very basis of their society, kinship, continued as such despite the Moravians' attempts aimed at reducing its importance. It is claimed that a new marriage form, cousin marriage, emerged as an institutionalized response to acculturative forces. -- The bulk of this study is based on previously unknown data, extracted from Moravian church books. Due to the richness of the material, this work might be the most comprehensive reliable historical analysis of demographic processes in a non-western society.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/7914
Item ID: 7914
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves [136]-142.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Anthropology
Date: 1980
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada--Newfoundland and Labrador--Labrador
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Moravian church--Missions--Newfoundland and Labrador--Labrador; Inuit--Newfoundland and Labrador--Labrador--History

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Downloads

Downloads per month over the past year

View more statistics