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Document Description
TitleThe demographic consequences of European contact with Labrador Inuit, 1800-1919
AuthorScheffel, David, 1955-
DescriptionThesis (M.A.)--Memorial University of Newfoundland, 1981. Anthropology
Pagination145 leaves : ill., map
SubjectMoravian church--Missions--Newfoundland and Labrador--Labrador; Inuit--Newfoundland and Labrador--History;
Degree GrantorMemorial University of Newfoundland. Dept. of Anthropology
Spatial CoverageCanada--Newfoundland and Labrador--Labrador
NotesBibliography : leaves [136]-142.
AbstractThis 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.
Resource TypeElectronic thesis or dissertation
FormatImage/jpeg; Application/pdf
SourcePaper copy kept in the Centre for Newfoundland Studies, Memorial University Libraries
Local Identifier75148599
RightsThe 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.
CollectionElectronic Theses and Dissertations
Scanning StatusCompleted
PDF File(40.67 MB) --
CONTENTdm file name319758.cpd