Skip to main content

The Caribou/Wild Reindeer as a Human Resource

  • Ernest S. Burch (a1)

The caribou/wild reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) has been a major resource for many human populations in northern North America and Eurasia for tens of thousands of years. The species is generally represented by prehistorians as providing an ample, easily exploited, and highly reliable resource base for humans. In this paper a number of specific assumptions leading to this view are examined in the light of new data on North American caribou and caribou-hunting Eskimo groups. The conventional picture is found to be largely untenable.

Hide All
Anderson Rudolph 1946 Catalogue of Canadian recent mammals. National Museum of Canada, Bulletin 102.
Banfield A. W. F 1951 The barren-ground caribou. Canadian Wildlife Service. Ottawa.
Banfield A. W. F 1954a Preliminary investigation of the barren ground caribou. Part I. Former and present distribution, migrations, and status. Wildlife Management Bulletin, Series 1, No. 10A.
Banfield A. W. F 1954b Preliminary investigation of the barren ground caribou. Part II. Life history, ecology, and utilization. Wildlife Management Bulletin, Series 1, No. 10B.
Banfield A. W. F 1961 A revision of the reindeer and caribou, genus Rangifer. National Museum of Canada, Bulletin 177.
Bartholemew George, Jr., and Birdsell Joseph B. 1953 Ecology and the protohominids. American Anthropologist 55:481498.
Binford Sally, and Binford Lewis R. (Editors) 1968 New perspectives in archeology. Aldine, Chicago.
Birket-Smith Kaj 1929 The Caribou Eskimos. Material and social life and their cultural position. Part I. Descriptive Part. Report of the Fifth Thule Expedition, 1921-24. Vol. V. Copenhagen.
Bordes Francois 1968 The old stone age. World University Library, New York.
Bouchud J. 1954 Le renne et le probleme des migrations. Anthropologic 58:7985.
Buchanan Angus 1920 Wild life in Canada. McClelland and Stewart, Toronto.
Butzer Karl W. 1964 Environment and archeology. Aldine, Chicago.
Campbell John M. 1968 Territorality among ancient hunters: interpretations from ethnography and nature. In Anthropological archeology in the Americas edited by Betty Meggers, Anthropological Society of Washington, Washington, D.C. pp. 121.
Clark J. G. D 1938 The reindeer hunting tribes of northern Europe. Antiquity 12:154171.
Clark J. G. D 1952 Prehistoric Europe: the economic basis. Methuen, London.
Clark J. G. D 1967 The stone age hunters. McGraw-Hill, New York.
Clarke C. H. D 1940 A biological investigation of the Thelon Game Sanctuary. National Museum of Canada, Bulletin 96. Ottawa.
Cornwall I. W. 1968 Prehistoric animals and their hunters. Faber and Faber, London.
Crisler Lois 1956 Arctic wild. Harper & Brothers, New York.
Curtis Edward C. 1930 The North American Indian, Vol. 20. Privately printed, New York. (Reprinted by Johnson Reprint Corp., 1970).
Edwards R. Yorke 1958 Land form and caribou distribution in British Columbia. Journal of Mammalogy 39:408412.
Edwards R. Yorke, and Ralph Ritcey 1959 Migrations of caribou in a mountainous area in Wells Gray Park, British Columbia. Canadian Field-Naturalist 73:2125.
Ekvall Robert B. 1968 Fields on the hoof. The nexus of Tibetan nomadic pastoralism. Holt, Rinehart and Winston, New York.
Foote D. C, and Williamson H. A. 1961 A human geographical study in northwest Alaska. Final Report of the Human Geographical Studies Program, U. S. Atomic Energy Commission, mimeographed. Cambridge, Mass.
Foote D. C, and Williamson H. A. 1966 A human geographical study: In Environment of the Cape Thompson Region, Alaska, edited by Wilimovsky N. and Wolfe J. N., pp. 10411107. U. S. Atomic Energy Commission, Oak Ridge.
Freuchen Peter, and Finn Salomonsen 1958 The Arctic year. G. P. Putnam’s Sons, New York.
Gabus Jean 1944 Iglous. Vie des Esquimaux-Caribou. Editions Victor Attinger, Neuchatel.
Giddings J. L. 1952 The Arctic woodland culture of the Kobuk River. The University Museum, Museum Monographs . Philadelphia.
Giddings J. L. 1961 Kobuk River people. University of Alaska Studies of Northern Peoples, 1. College.
Grinnell Joseph 1901 Gold hunting in Alaska. David C. Cook, Chicago.
Gubser Nicholas J. 1965 The Nunamiut Eskimos: hunters of caribou. Yale University Press, New Haven.
Hall E. R., and Kelson K. R. 1959 The mammals of North America, Vol. 2. The Ronald Press, New York.
Hanbury David T. 1904 Sport and travel in the northland of Canada. Edward Arnold, London.
Harper Francis 1964 Caribou Eskimos of the Upper Kazan River, Keewatin. The Allen Press, Lawrence.
Ingstad Helge 1954 Nunamiut. Among Alaska’s Inland Eskimos. George Allen and Unwin, London.
Jacobi A. 1931 Das Rentier: eine zoologische Monographie der Gattung Rangifer. Zoologische anzeiger 96. Akademisches Verlag, Leipzig.
Kelsall J. P. 1968 The caribou. Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Canadian Wildlife Service, Ottawa.
Kelsall J. P. 1970 The migration of the barren-ground caribou. Natural History 39:98106.
Klein Richard G. 1969 Man and culture in the Late Pleistocene. A case study. Chandler, San Fransisco.
Kurten Bjorn 1968 Pleistocene mammals of Europe. Aldine, Chicago.
Lee Richard B., and Irven DeVore (Editors) 1968 Man the hunter. Aldine, Chicago.
Lent Peter C. 1966 The caribou of northwestern Alaska. In Environment of the Cape Thompson Region, Alaska, edited by Wilimovsky N. and Wolfe J. N., pp. 481517. U. S. Atomic Energy Commission, Oak Ridge.
Makridin V. P. 1962 The routes and timing of the migration of wild reindeer in the Taimyr National Territory. Translated from Zoologicheskii Zhumal 41:927934.
Mallet Thierry 1930 Glimpses of the barren lands. Revillion Freres, New York.
Murie Olaus J. 1935 Alaska-Yukon caribou. United States Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Biological Survey, North American Fauna No. 54. Washington, D. C.
Odum Eugene P. 1963 Ecology. Holt, Rinehart and Winston, New York.
Popov A. A. 1966 The Nganasan. The material culture of the Tavgi Samoyeds, translated by Ristinen Elain K.. Indiana University Publications, Uralic and Altaic Series 56, Bloomington.
Pruitt William O. Jr. 1959 Snow as a factor in the winter ecology of the barren-ground caribou (Rangifer arcticus). Arctic 12:158179.
Pruitt William O. Jr. 1960a Behavior of the barren-ground caribou. University of Alaska Biological Papers 3. College.
Pruitt William O. Jr. 1960b Locomotor speeds of some large northern mammals. Journal of Mammalogy 41:112.
Pruitt William O. Jr. 1966 Ecology of terrestrial mammals. In Environment of the Cape Thompson Region, Alaska, edited by Wilimovsky N. and Wolfe J. N., pp. 519564. U. S. Atomic Energy Commission, Oak Ridge.
Pruitt William O. Jr. 1968 Synchronous biomass fluctuations of some northern mammals. Mammalia 32:172191.
Pruitt William O. Jr. 1970 Some ecological aspects of snow. Ecology and Conservation, No. 1:8399. UNESCO, Paris.
Rainey Froelich G. 1947 The whale hunters of Tigara. Anthropological Papers of the American Museum of Natural History, Vol. 47, Page 2.
Rasmussen Knud 1930 Observations on the intellectual culture of the Caribou Eskimos. Report of the Fifth Thule Expedition 1921-24, Vol. VII, No. 2. Copenhagen.
Saario Doris, and Brina Kessel 1966 Human ecological investigations at Kivalina. In Environment of the Cape Thompson Region, Alaska, edited by Wilimovsky N. and Wolfe J. N., pp. 969-l1039. U. S. Atomic Energy Commission, Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
Seton Ernest Thompson 1953 Lives of game animals. Vol. III, Part I. Hoofed animals. Charles T. Branford, Boston. (Originally published in 1927.)
Skoog Ronald O. 1968 Ecology of the caribou (Rangifer tarandus granti) in Alaska. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation. Department of Zoology, University of California, Berkeley.
Slobodkin Lawrence B. 1961 Growth and regulation of animal populations. Holt, Rinehart and Winston, New York.
Spencer Robert F. 1959 The North Alaskan Eskimo. A study in ecology and society. Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 171.
Stefansson Vilhjalmur 1957 The fat of the land. MacMillan, New York.
Stoney George M. 1900 Explorations in Alaska. U. S. Naval Institute, Proceedings 18.
Tener John S. 1963 Queen Elizabeth Islands game survey, 1961. Canadian Wildlife Service, Occasional Papers 4. Ottawa.
Turquetil A. 1907 Premiere tentative d’apostolat chez les Esquimaux. Missions de la Congregation des Oblats de Marie Imaculee, Vol. 45:330353, 484-503.
Turquetil A. 1926 Notes sur les Esquimaux de Baie Hudson. Anthropos Ephemeris 21:419434.
Tyrrell J. Burr 1895 A second expedition through the barren lands of northern Canada. Geographical Journal 6:438448.
Winters Howard D. 1969 The Riverton culture. A second millennium occupation in the Central Wabash Valley. Illinois State Museum, Report of Investigations 13.
Zeuner F. E. 1963 A history of domesticated animals. Harper and Row, New York.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

American Antiquity
  • ISSN: 0002-7316
  • EISSN: 2325-5064
  • URL: /core/journals/american-antiquity
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 3 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 236 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 20th January 2017 - 23rd January 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.