Confounding culture: Drinking, country food sharing, and traditional knowledge networks in a Labrador inuit community

Joshua Moses, Bilal Khan, G. Robin Gauthier, Vladimir Ponizovsky, Kirk Dombrowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


This aritcle presents evidence from one Northern Inuit community showing that networks associated with the exchange of traditional knowledge and subsistence foods among households overlap with alcohol co-use patterns. The findings presented here are based on a large social network research project that included 330 interviews with adult residents of a single community over the course of more than five months. These data belie depictions of alcohol use as solely pathological in indigenous communities. The fact that relationships at the center of traditional/cultural activities are simultaneously relationships through which ostensibly damaging behaviors are enacted necessarily presents a more complex picture than is often depicted in literature on Aboriginal mental health and well-being. Culture, we illustrate, is not a separate sphere of life where individual and collective well-being is produced by activities deemed healthy, excluding those behaviors understood as damaging. Instead, the sources of cultural continuity and resilience are embedded in activities that may also be considered harmful. The implications of these findings for culturally-based interventions are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-183
Number of pages13
JournalHuman Organization
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Alcohol
  • Culture
  • Indigenous
  • Social networks
  • Traditional knowledge

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences(all)


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