The Dakota of the Canadian Northwest: Lessons for Survival

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By demonstrating the great flexibility of the Dakota in adapting to the trying economic circumstances of their environment, The Dakota of the Canadian Northwest has given us a significant example of the cultural tenacity and economic ingenuity of one aboriginal group. When the Dakota came to the Red River area in 1862, they brought with them their skills in hunting and gathering, fishing and farming. These bands faced common barriers, but responded to them differently. Some bands established themselves as commercial farmers, one band based its economy on the traditional pursuits of hunting, fishing, and gathering, another adopted an economic strategy based on livestock production and the sale of labour. The Dakota at Portage la Prairie and Prince Albert were almost exclusively urban and rural wage labourers.