Document Type


Publication Date



Geography and Environmental Studies


Aboriginal peoples’ respect for grizzly bear (Ursus arctos) is widely acknowledged, but rarely explored, in wildlife management discourse in northern Canada. Practices of respect expressed toward bears were observed and grouped into four categories: terminology, stories, reciprocity, and ritual. In the southwest Yukon, practices in all four categories form a coherent qualitative resource management system that may enhance the resilience of the bear-human system as a whole. This system also demonstrates the possibility of a previously unrecognized human role in maintaining productive riparian ecosystems and salmon runs, potentially providing a range of valued social-ecological outcomes. Practices of respect hold promise for new strategies to manage bear-human interactions, but such successful systems may be irreducibly small scale and place based.


This article was originally published in Ecology and Society, 14(1): Article 42. (c) 2009 The Authors