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Harvey A Feit
Professor Emeritus, Anthropology

Harvey A. Feit

Working closely with Eeyou (James Bay Cree) People on ethnographic and engaged projects I have learned from and I write about Eeyou everyday lives, and their practices of collective autonomy, governing, co-governing, surviving and resisting. I also learned about their ways of living amidst colonialism, dispossession, treaty abrogation, and pervasive ways of shaping conduct. These ways include how Eeyou seek to shape the conduct of non-Eeyou governments, corporations, and new co-governance regimes.

At different times I have worked primarily as a researcher, expert witness, program and policy developer, and advisor with Eeyou negotiators and organizations, especially during the first decade of their treaty negotiations and implementation of the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement of 1975. I have continued to do so on an intermittent basis since, as well as to work on research I initiated and have conducted with Eeyou partners. These collaborations have stimulated joint projects exploring Eeyou “ways of doing things.”

My research also explores human/animal/land relations, and how people seek to sustain the lands, worlds and ways of living that they value. Detailed multi-year research with Waswanipi Eenou hunters shows how they could hunt intensively without generally depleting vulnerable game animals’ collective well-being.

Other research explores Eeyou families’ understandings of ‘power,’ their practices of situated governance, and their ways of nurturing practical and ontological commensurabilities with non-Eeyou.

My contributions to these projects have appeared in two co-edited volumes and over 75 book chapters, journal articles, reports and expert affidavits and testimonies. These include publications on:
- colonialism and its effects, alongside the continuation of Indigenous self-governance, everyday autonomies, resistance and co-governance;
- showing how nation state governments, and some Indigenous forms of governance, obscure or only partly acknowledge already existing and developing forms of state - Indigenous co-governance;
- critically examining histories of anthropological engagement/scholarship, the inseparability of academic knowledge practices as engagement, and the consequences of the scholarly practices that seek to render them separate;
- demonstrating flaws in optimal bio-economic modeling of subsistence hunting, and in modes of production models and histories of the evolution of sharing economies;
- critically challenging claims that Northern Indigenous People’s conservation of land and game animals is specious, or was only historical and is not contemporary, or is derived solely from non-Indigenous peoples;
- researching, helping to design, and documenting a basic income program to sustain an Eeyou social economy and substantial self-sufficiency of families living on the land;
- documenting and exploring ways that Indigenous Peoples and scholars can enhance existing dialogues and commensurabilities, and possibilities of co-governance.

Harvey Feit is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Professor Emeritus at McMaster University, co-founder of the Indigenous Studies Program at McMaster, and a member of the Adjunct Graduate Faculty, Indigenous Studies PhD, Chanie Wenjack School for Indigenous Studies at Trent University.
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