• Cultural Continuity and Communities and Well-Being

      Martin, Stephanie (Rural Development Institute, Brandon University., 2012)
      This paper describes a household survey of Inuit in northern Alaska and how the survey data were used to better understand the relative importance of jobs, wild food harvesting, and social ties for life satisfaction. It emphasizes the importance of non-material measures for life satisfaction. It builds on other research showing the importance of harvesting wild food and the persistence of a mixed economy—one that combines cash income and wild food harvests. An empirical model estimates the relationship between people's choices to work, and/or hunt and fish, and individual satisfaction with life. The model includes economic and non-economic measures of well-being as well as community characteristics and shows that what matters most for satisfaction are family ties, social support and opportunities to do things with other people. Jobs, income, housing, and modern amenities—are less important among arctic Inuit. This research addresses the purpose for the original survey project—to give a more realistic picture of life in the Arctic by showing why people who live in remote, isolated, communities, with low incomes, and substandard housing are very satisfied with their lives. It also contributes to public policy in remote regions and efforts to understand how people are adapting in a rapidly changing environment.