Scottish Diaspora in "Gwich'in Country," Northwest Territories, Canada. (2003- 2006)
Building on my doctoral research, I am currently studying cultural exchanges between Gwich'in and Scottish fur traders during the height of the Fur Trade in Gwich'in Country (approximately 1800-1920). This period was characterized by an increased level of contact between the fur traders and the Gwich'in and resulted in many marriages between Scots and Gwich'in women. The children of these marriages (often referred to as Métis) went on to live a way of life thought to be desirable by the Gwich'in. They became examples of the core Gwich'in ethos of living on the land and brought new cultural forms of food, dance, music and language from their Scottish relatives. Scottish fur traders are often described in historical accounts as being a fairly homogeneous group shifting between being the other in a strange land or being the dominator. What is apparent in Gwich'in country is that Scots fur traders are not a homogeneous group, at least some of these Scots shared an affinity with Gwich'in practice and with their position vis-à-vis colonial expansion and were willing to perceive Gwich'in country not as a wilderness needing conquest but as a place of dwelling.
"Living on the Land" in Gwich'in Country (1998-2003)
I conducted my doctoral research at Fort McPherson (Tetlit-zheh), Northwest Territories, a Dene (Gwich'in) community. My dissertation explores how Tetlit Gwich'in human-animal and human-land relationships have been maintained throughout the history of First Nations-European contact and the way these relationships continue to be maintained in the face of programs now presented by the State as sustainable natural resource management. During my fieldwork, I participated in all of the hunting and gathering activities of a seasonal round while paying particular attention to personal narratives of place and wider issues to do with oral history. Many of the personal narratives and historical accounts are set against the history, policies and actions of representatives of the state, including current "co-management" boards, and serve to instruct on issues of cultural maintenance and proper ways of behaving in relation to Tetlit Gwich'in constructions of the environment.
Wishart, RP. (2013). ''We ate lots of fish back then': The forgotten importance of fishing in Gwich’in country'. Polar Record.
Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings
Wishart, RP. (in press). 'Building a home for circumpolar architecture'. in Circumpolar Hearths. Berghahn Books.
Wishart, RP. & Asch, M. (2009). 'Writing Against the Grain of Materialist Orthodoxy: Richard Slobodin and the Teetl'it Gwich'in'. in RJ Preston (ed.), A Kindly Scrutiny of Human Nature: Essays in Honour of Richard Slobodin. Wilfrid Laurier University Press, Waterloo, ON, Canada, pp. 33-43.
Asch, M. & Wishart, RP. (2004). 'The Slavey Indians: The Relevance of Ethnohistory to Development'. in Native Peoples: The Canadian Experience. Oxford University Press, Native Peoples: The Canadian Experience, pp. 178-197.
Wishart, RP. & Asch, M. (2004). 'Western Subarctic Aboriginals'. in Oxford Companion to Canadian History. Oxford Companion to Canadian History, pp. 658-659.
Wishart, RP. (2004). 'A Story About a Muskox: Some Implications of Tetlit Gwich’in Human-Animal Relationships'. in Cultivating Arctic Landscapes. Cultivating Arctic Landscapes, pp. 79-92.
Wishart, RP. & Loovers, P. (2013). 'Building Log Cabins in Teetl’it Gwich’in Country: Vernacular Architecture and Articulations of Presence'. in D Anderson, R Wishart & V Vate (eds), About the Hearth: Perspectives on the Home, Hearth and Household in the Circumpolar North. Berghahn Books, pp. 54-68.
Contributions to Conferences
Loovers, JPL. & Wishart, RP. 'Relating with Dogs, Fish, and Caribou: An alternative exploration of human-animal engagements in the Circumpolar North'. Paper presented at IUAES 17th World Congress, Manchester, United Kingdom, 5/08/13 - 10/08/13,.
Wishart, RP. (in press). 'Building log cabins in Teetl'it Gwich'in Country'. Paper presented at Chacmool conference, Calgary, Canada, 13/11/09 - 16/11/09,.
Wishart, RP. (2009). 'Vernacular Architecture in the Mackenzie Delta'. Paper presented at Chacmool conference, Calgary, Canada, 13/11/09 - 16/11/09,.
Wishart, RP. (2009). 'Inscribing the Circumpolar North'. BOREAS final conference, Rovaneimi, Finland, 30/10/09 - 1/11/09,.
Wishart, RP. & Asch, M. (2006). 'Richard Slobodin and the Teetl’it Gwich’in'.
Wishart, RP. (2004). 'The Gwich’in and Scottish Fur-traders: Cultural Exchange and Resistance'.
Wishart, RP. (2004). 'Gwich'in Discourse about Climate Change in the Mackenzie Delta, Northwest Territories'.
Wishart, RP. (2003). 'The Discourse of Wildlife Management Regimes and Tetl’it Gwich’in Resistance'.
Wishart, RP. & Murray, AE. (2001). 'Report on Driftwood Use Prepared for the Gwich’in Renewable Resource Board and Dr. Ross Wein, University of Alberta'. Unknown Publisher, Gwich'in Renewable Resource Board.
Wishart, RP., (2005). 'Wildlife Management, Colonialism and the Scottish Enlightenment in Canada’s North'. , 2005, Performance.