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Feit Harvey, FRSC | Professor Emeritus

Harvey Feit

FRSC | Professor Emeritus

Emeritus Faculty
Department of Anthropology


Biography (MAC Experts and Dept 2018/09/15) 

Working closely with Eeyou (James Bay Cree) People on ethnographic and engaged projects I learned about Eeyou everyday practices of surviving, resisting, exercising collective autonomy, governing and co-governing - amidst struggles with colonialism, treaty abrogation, dispossession, and pervasive ways of shaping conduct. 

This included working intensively as an expert witness, researcher, program and policy developer, and advisor with Eeyou negotiators during their first decade of their treaty negotiations and implementation of the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement, and I have continued to do so on an intermittent basis since. This stimulated joint projects exploring how Eeyou “ways of doing things” can shape the conduct of non-Eeyou governments and corporations, court hearings, transnational NGO collaborations, social economies, joint development agreements, and new co-governance regimes.

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 questions and discussions with Eeyou about spirituality, and the interest of the family of the late Andrew, Joseph, Jr. and Eva Ottereyes of Waswanipi in recording a sacred ceremony to assist the understanding and continuation of the ceremony by future generations of Eeyou, led to filming a ceremony and a long collaboration to document, circulate and preserve the record. 

Earlier and continuing research explores human – animal – land relations and how people seek to sustain the lands, worlds and ways of living that they value. Multi-year research with Waswanipi Eenou hunters showed how they were able to hunt intensively without generally depleting vulnerable game animals’ collective well-being. 

My contributions to these projects have appeared in 2 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 and resistance; and the pursuit of dialogues 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;

- 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;

- 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 has derived from non-Indigenous governments and corporate enterprises; and,

- documenting and exploring ways that Indigenous Peoples and engaged scholars can enhance existing dialogues, commensurabilities, and Indigenous co-governance.

Harvey Feit is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Professor Emeritus at McMaster and a 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.


PhD McGill, 1979


Selected Publications

Feit, Harvey A. 2018. “Dispossession with Possession, Governance with Colonialism: Algonquian Hunting Territories and Anthropology as Engaged Practice.” Anthropologica 60: 149-160. 

Feit, Harvey A. 2017. “Dialogues on Surviving: Eeyou Hunters’ Ways of Engaging with Land, Governments and Youth” In Entangled Territorialities: Negotiating Indigenous Lands in Australia and Canada, Françoise Dussart and Sylvie Poirier, eds. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Pp. 25-50.

Feit, Harvey A. 2016. “Creating Jobs and an Eenou Social Economy.” In Together We Survive. John S. Long and Jennifer S.H. Brown, eds. Montreal: McGill – Queen’s Press. Pp. 46-70. 

Feit, Harvey A. 2014. “Hunting and the Quest for Power: Relationships between James Bay Crees, the Land and Developers.” In Native Peoples: The Canadian Experience. Fourth Edition. C. Roderick Wilson and Christopher Fletcher, eds. Toronto: Oxford University Press. Pp. 115-145. (Expanded version of a 1986 article; the 2nd 1995 edition is available at the Digital Library of the Commons at Indiana U:;jsessionid=09525A79F7539FC7956D7A4B2C55B5B3?sequence=1 ; and at Arctic Circle at the U Connecticut: ; and at the Universidad de Buenos Aires: Consulted 04/09/2018). 

Feit, Harvey A. 2010. “Le peuple cri de la Baie James parle aux gouvernements: développement, gouvernance et co-gouvernance.” In Les Inuit et les Cris du Nord du Québec. Jacques-Guy Petit, Yv Bonnier Viger, Pita Aatami and Ashley Iserhoff, eds. Rennes and Québec: Presses Universitaires de Rennes, and Presses de l’Université du Québec. Pp. 119-132. 

Feit, Harvey A. 2010. “Neo-liberal Governance and James Bay Cree Governance: Negotiated Agreements, Oppositional Struggles, and Co-Governance.” In Indigenous Peoples and Autonomy: Insights for a Global Age. Mario Blaser, Ravi de Costa, Deborah McGregor and William D. Colemen, eds. Vancouver: UBC Press. Pp. 49-79.

Feit, Harvey A. 2009.Governmental Rationalities and Indigenous Co-Governance: James Bay Cree Co-Existence, from Mercantilist Partnerships to Neoliberal Mechanisms.” In Unsettled Legitimacy: Political Community, Power, and Authority in a Global Era. Steven Bernstein and William D. Coleman, eds. Vancouver: UBC Press. Pp. 97-128. 

Feit, Harvey A. 2009. “Histories of the Past, Histories of the Future: The Committed Anthropologies of Richard Slobodin, Frank G. Speck and Eleanor Leacock.” In A Kindly Scrutiny of Human Nature: Essays in Honour of Richard Slobodin. Richard Preston, ed. Waterloo: Wilfred Laurier University Press. Pp. 45-76.

Feit, Harvey A. 2007. “Myths of the Ecological Whitemen: Histories, Science, and Rights in North American – Native American Relations.” In Native Americans and the Environment: Perspectives on the Ecological Indian, Michael E. Harkin and David Rich Lewis, eds. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. Pp. 52-92.

Spaeder, Joseph and Harvey A. Feit, eds. 2005. Co-management and Indigenous Communities: Barriers and Bridges to Decentralized Resource Management. A special issue of Anthropologica 47 (2): 147-288.

Feit, Harvey A. 2005. “Re-Cognizing Co-Management as Co-Governance: Histories and Visions of Conservation at James Bay.” Anthropologica. 47 (2): 267-288. (Available at: - Consulted 08/28/2018)

Blaser, Mario, Harvey A. Feit and Glenn McRae, eds. 2004 (E-book, 2013). In the Way of Development: Indigenous Peoples, Life Projects and Globalization. London: Zed Books with Canadian International Development Research Centre.  372 pp. (Available at:  - Consulted 27/08/2018).

Feit, Harvey A. 2004. “James Bay Crees’ Life Projects and Politics: Histories of Place, Animal Partners and Enduring Relationships.” In Blaser, Feit and McRae, eds. above. Pp. 92-110.  

Blaser, Mario, Harvey A. Feit and Glenn McRae. 2004. “Indigenous Peoples and Development Processes: New Terrains of Struggle.” In Blaser, Feit and McRae, eds. above. Pp. 1-25.

Feit, Harvey A.  2004. “Contested Identities of ‘Indians’ and ‘Whitemen’ at James Bay, or the Power of Reason, Hybridity and Agency.” In Senri Ethnological Studies. (Osaka)  66: 109-126. (Available at: Consulted 08/30/2018). 

Feit, Harvey A. and Colin H. Scott. 2004. "Applying Knowledge: Anthropological Praxis and Public Policy." In Ethnography and Development: The Work of Richard F. Salisbury. Marilyn Silverman, ed. Montreal: McGill‑Queen's Press. Pp. 233-255. 

Feit, Harvey A. 2001. “Hunting, Nature and Metaphor: Political and Discursive Strategies in James Bay Cree Resistance and Autonomy.” In Indigenous Traditions and Ecology. John A. Grim, ed. Cambridge: Center for the Study of World Religions, Harvard Divinity School and Harvard University Press. Pp. 411-452           

Feit, Harvey A. and Robert Beaulieu. 2001. “Voices from a Disappearing Forest: Government, Corporate and Cree Participatory Forestry Management Practices.”  In Aboriginal Autonomy and Development in Northern Quebec and Labrador. Colin H. Scott, ed. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press. Pp. 119-148. 

Feit, Harvey A. 2000. “Les animaux comme partenaires de chasse: Réciprocité chez les Cris de la Baie James.”  Terrain (Paris) 34:123-142. (Available at: - Consulted 04/09/2018).

Feit, Harvey A., North American Section Editor. 1999 [Paperback, 2004]. “Introduction: North America,” and “James Bay Cree.” The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Hunters and Gatherers. Richard B. Lee and Richard Daly, eds. Cambridge University Press. Pp. 23-30; 41-45.

Feit, Harvey A. 1997. “Spiritual Power and Everyday Lives: James Bay Cree Shaking Tent Performers and Their Audiences.” In Circumpolar Animism and Shamanism. Takako Yamada and Takashi Irimoto, eds. Sapporo: University of Hokkaido Press. Pp. 121-150.

Feit, Harvey A. 1994. “The Enduring Pursuit: Land, Time, and Social Relationships in Anthropological Models of Hunter‑Gatherers and in Hunters' Images.” In Key Issues in Hunter‑Gatherer Research. Ernest S. Burch, Jr. and Linda J. Ellanna, eds. Oxford: Berg Publishers. Pp. 421‑439. 

Feit, Harvey A. 1994. “Dreaming of Animals: The Waswanipi Cree Shaking Tent Ceremony in Relation to Environment, Hunting and Missionization.” In Circumpolar Religion and Ecology. Takashi Irimoto and Takako Yamada, eds. Tokyo: University of Tokyo Press. Pp. 289‑316. 

Scott, Colin H., & Feit, Harvey A. 1992. Income Security for Cree Hunters: Ecological, Social and Economic Effects. Montréal: McGill Programme in the Anthropology of Development, Monograph Series. 448 pp. 

Feit, Harvey A. 1991. “The Construction of Algonquian Hunting Territories: Private Property as Moral Lesson, Policy Advocacy and Ethnographic Error.” In Colonial Situations: Essays on the Contextualization of Ethnographic Knowledge. George W. Stocking, Jr., ed. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press. (History of Anthropology, Volume 7). Pp. 109‑134.

Feit, Harvey A. 1991. “Gifts of the Land: Hunting Territories, Guaranteed Incomes and the Construction of Social Relations in James Bay Cree Society.” Senri Ethnological Studies (Osaka) 30:223‑268. (Available at:  Consulted 08/30/2018),

Harvey A. 1989. “James Bay Cree Self‑Governance and Land Management.” In We Are Here: Politics of Aboriginal Land Tenure. Edwin N. Wilmsen, ed. Berkeley: University of California Press. Pp. 68‑98. 

Feit, Harvey A. 1988 [1987]. “Waswanipi Cree Management of Land and Wildlife: Cree Cultural Ecology Revisited.” In Native Peoples: Native Lands. Bruce Cox, ed. Ottawa: Carleton University Press, Pp. 75‑91. (2nd printing 1988 was corrected). 

Feit, Harvey A. 1988. “Self‑Management and State‑Management: Forms of Knowing and Managing Northern Wildlife.” In Traditional Knowledge and Renewable Resource Management in Northern Regions. Milton M.R. Freeman and Ludwig N. Carbyn, eds. Edmonton: Boreal Institute for Northern Studies, and International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. Pp. 72‑91. Republished 1993, and available at: Consulted 13/11/ 2018.

Feit, Harvey A. 1988. “The Power and the Responsibility: Implementation of the Wildlife and Hunting Provisions of the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement.” In James Bay and Northern Quebec: Ten Years After.  Sylvie Vincent and Garry Bowers, eds. Montreal: Recherches amérindiennes au Québec. Pp. 74‑88. 

Feit, Harvey A. 1987. “North American Native Hunting and Management of Moose Populations.” Viltrevy, Swedish Wildlife Research (Supplement 1): 25‑42. 

Feit, Harvey A. 1986. “James Bay Cree Indian Management and Moral Considerations of Fur‑bearers.” In Native People and Renewable Resource Management. 1986 Symposium of the Alberta Society of Professional Biologists (ASPB), Edmonton: ASPB. Pp. 49‑65.

Feit, Harvey A. 1985. “Legitimation and Autonomy in James Bay Cree Responses to Hydro‑electric Development.” In Indigenous Peoples and the Nation State. Noel Dyck, ed. St. John's: Memorial University, Institute for Social and Economic Research. Pp. 27‑66.