This article presents a narrative and analytical account of an ethnographic filmmaking project that could be described as “salvage anthropology.“ In 2008 anthropologist David Koester and ethnographic filmmaker Liivo Niglas worked with indigenous Itelmen hunters Georgii Zaporotskii and Pavel Khaloimov to record accounts of hunting practices in the Itelmen language and the formerly practiced tradition of hunting sable with a net. The article describes the project and what went into the making of the first film to result, Itelmen Stories. It provides details of the ethnohistorical record of sable hunting that could not be included in the film. The article emphasizes the collaborative and serendipitous nature of “salvage anthropology“ in the twenty-first century, and discusses the problem of “museification“ and the value of filming technique that emphasized equally observation of practices and attending to narratives. The article gives an account of the filming in context and in turn a more general context for understanding of Itelmen life today.
Filming a Past Practice in a Disappearing Language
David Koester and Liivo Niglas
Hunting is an important basis for conservation, but hunters are surprisingly scarce in global networks of environmental advocacy and governance, and hunting management systems are not given the attention they should receive. This article reveals the messages promoted by hunting advocates through an analysis of museum representations and interviews in order to understand the limitations of and basis upon which further integration of hunters into conservation advocacy circles worldwide could occur. Museums feature representations that reflect the cultural elucidations of their host organization. This article will show how the International Wildlife Museum—maintained by Safari Club International—produces messages of the inseparability of humans from nature, purposive management of nature, dependence upon global capitalism and predation, and the neutrality of scientific knowledge. Through these messages a narrative space for the management of wildlife is produced that attempts to unite the commodification and conservation of nature, namely, “sustainable hunting”. This article concludes by identifying contradictions among the messages of sustainable hunting that may limit hunting advocates' ability to work with other stakeholders to further improve hunting management systems.
Jennifer Rebecca Kelly and Stacy Rule
Full-length feature articles in eight popular American hunting magazines were assessed to better understand hunter-prey relationships as depicted in contemporary hunting discourse. Our findings suggest hunters regard prey using two contradictory paradigms-Love and Kill. In the Love category, we find respect for life, admiration for nature and animals, and a sense of kinship between hunter and prey. In contrast, writings consistent with the Kill theme focus on conquest, objectification, hunter physiological responses, and violence. Of the 23 articles reviewed, 61 percent of the sample had multiple representations of Love and Kill in the same article, revealing a multilayered discourse. Many scholars have written about Love and Kill as separate constructs in hunting, suggesting they are mutually exclusive. Our empirical study counters this claim, finding instead that individual hunters often view their prey through a mixed lens that includes both Love and Kill.
'Luck' as a Relational Process among Hunting Peoples of the Siberian Forest in Pre-Soviet Times
Roberte N. Hamayon
This article is based on data from pre-Soviet Siberia, mainly, the West Buryat and Tungus Evenk groups. As a product that cannot be produced, game is an ideal example of something that requires 'luck'. Far from being passively received, luck requires an active behavior and implies controlled interactions with various types of agencies of the natural environment and within society. Luck is the outcome of a multirelational process that starts with multiple precautionary measures, continues with fostering, and ends with sharing practices. This action results, paradoxically, in challenging both equality and differentiation, social redistribution and individual responsibility. Throughout this process, luck is associated with meat and vital force (as a substance) and with love, play, and wealth (as a value).
Toward a Prehistory of Human-Animal Relations
The discipline of archaeology has long engaged with animals in a utilitarian mode, constructing animals as objects to be hunted, manipulated, domesticated, and consumed. Only recently, in tandem with the rising interest in animals in the humanities and the development of interdisciplinary animal studies research, has archaeology begun to systematically engage with animals as subjects. This article describes some of the ways in which archaeologists are reconstructing human engagements with animals in the past, focusing on relational modes of interaction documented in many hunting and gathering societies. Among the most productive lines of evidence for human-animal relations in the past are animal burials and structured deposits of animal bones. These archaeological features provide material evidence for relational ontologies in which animals, like humans, were vested with sentience and agency.
On a frozen field 35 kilometers east of Dortmund, members of Germany’s
elite—government officials, business leaders, and royalty—
assemble in the medieval city of Arnsberg for a 1,000 year ritual: the
Arnsberg Treibjagd (driven hunt). Like live-sized Hummelfiguren,
adorned in Bavarian-style Loden coats, expensive Zeiss binoculars,
priceless weapons, and accompanied by the German hunter’s best
friend, the Dackel, they ready themselves for the ancient and hairraising
wail of the hunting horns—the hunt is on! The playing out of
this medieval scene is soon interrupted, however, by an unlikely
group of fast-moving, jean-clad “hunting saboteurs” who, wielding
signs that read “Hunting is Murder,” proceed to barricade hunting
areas and to risk life and limb before high-powered rifles. The scene
plays itself out in the usual way: heated words are exchanged, the
police arrive, and the hunt is cancelled. Over the past few years, this
scenario has become more common in German forests. For the first
time in its deeply rooted existence, German hunting is under siege
by the anti-hunting movement, begging the question of whether this
age-old hunting culture will survive in the new century.
Une vieille controverse (VIIe-VIIIe siècles)
The Qur’ân (5, 95) prohibits hunting for pilgrims at Mecca. If they do not observe this prohibition, they are obliged to sacrifice an animal. Through the analysis of the casuistry of this prohibition during the early Islamic period, we try to understand its meaning. We put forward that the prohibition means that wild animals are under the protection of the god of the Ka’ba.
How do we take indigenous animism seriously in the sense proposed by Viveiros de Castro? In this article, I pose this challenge to all the major theories of animism, stretching from Tylor and Durkheim, over Lévi-Strauss to Ingold. I then go on to draw a comparison between Žižek's depiction of the cynical milieu of advanced capitalism in which ideology as “false consciousness” has lost force and the Siberian Yukaghirs for whom ridiculing the spirits is integral to their game of hunting. Both know that, in their activity, they are following an illusion, but still they go along with it; both are ironically self-conscious about not taking the ruling ethos at face value. This makes me suggest an alternative: perhaps it is time for anthropology not to take indigenous animism too seriously.
The Sakha Father as a Wise Hunter and a Pastoralist
This article analyzes the family relationships of the Sakha people with particular focus on the concept of the father, both in a historical setting and in a contemporary context. The aim of this article is to shed light on alternative aspects of the life of Sakha pastoralists and to examine them within the broader historical and cultural perspective. Unlike previous studies on manhood and gender in post-socialist Russia, I suggest that the realization of a masculine identity as a father was possible, and that it has been transmitted through the generations, even during the socialist era. Hunting as a mode of minor subsistence and the perception of the socio-ecological environment related to it has been crucial for the preservation of the status of a man among the Sakha.
Between Too Little and Too Much Hunting Success in Siberia
Ludek Broz and Rane Willerslev
Two indigenous Siberian groups-the Yukaghirs and the Telengits-share rather similar ideas about success in hunting as an elusive and highly precarious tension between too little and too much luck. In the catalogue of semiotics, it corresponds to the homonym whereby one sound/spelling is the manifestation of two words with different meanings. The result, as we shall show, is that any lucky hunter always inhabits the alternative possibility of his own failure. In this sense, good luck in hunting might at any point be exposed as bad fortune.