Portfolio > The Quest for Food: Excerpts

Primate Diets
Control of Fire 
Luring Prey
Wetland Foods
Periglacial Steppe
Sub-arctic Habitat
Marine Resources
Buffalo Hunters
Sago Harvesting
Firing Woodlands
Preserved Foods
Keeping Account

All illustrations by the author Ivan Crowe

Sub-arctic Habitat

Food resources of the sub-arctic

Illustration based on slides provided by John Letts

Empetrum nigrum

Bear root
Hedysarum alpinium

Taraxacum spp.

Arctic charr
Salvelinus alphinus

Bog bilberries
Vaccinium uliginosum

Red & black bearberries
Arctostaphylos alpina/rubra

Mountain sorrel
Oxyria digyna

Vaccinium vitis-idaea

Ringed seal
Pusa hispida

Arctic hare
Lepus americanus

Ovibos moschatus

Rangifer tarandus

Most of the food available to people inhabiting sub-arctic regions is provided by birds, fish, sea mammals and the other animals they hunt. Flesh is often eaten raw. This not only helps to conserve the little fuel available but also avoids destroying the traces of vitamin C that fresh meat contains. In the brief summer though, a wide range of ground hugging plants allow sweet, succulent berries to be added to the diet. Carbohydrates were hard to come by, but the roots of a common tundra flower - the dandelion, which contain toxins - could be made edible by cooking and the leaves too can be eaten; although not all potential food plants were necessarily always utilised by native people

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