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date: 25 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter focuses on the diets of indigenous peoples of the North American Subarctic before European contact, reconstructing the dietary past using several lines of evidence. These include the climate and environment of the North American Subarctic Culture Area, its animal and plant resources, the prehistory of its indigenous inhabitants, and information on food resources obtained during the contact-traditional phase of their history. For hunting-gathering peoples the maintenance of dietary adequacy requires the consumption of balanced diets. That balance depends on the existence of diversity in the plant and animal species on which people depend, and which must be available in sufficient quantities to meet their needs. Accordingly, the chapter focuses on the wild foods that were likely to have been consumed aboriginally, describes the composition of pre-contact diets, and comments on the nutrition and health of Subarctic peoples as perceived at the time of contact.

Keywords: subarctic, North America, diets, hunter-gatherer, pre-contact, nutrition

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