Full text: Ownership as interpersonal dominance

grammatical context in the sentence. For example, in English, my and mine are the same word 
but inflected respectively for use as an adjective and as a predicate nominative. One 
consequence of inflection is that isolated words are not sensible in Cree. There is no record 
of psychologistic research in Cree, but such research would need to use sentences rather than 
isolated words as stimuli. 
In contrast to the Cree, English-Canadians are a stratified people with positions of 
superiority and inferiority in most social institutions. English-Canadians respect law and 
authority and are relatively accepting of elitist economic and educational systems (Lipset, 1972). 
Social stratification might have been facilitated by the counter-revolutionary origins of 
English-Canada, with Loyalists and their conservative, oligarchical ideas moving north after the 
American Revolution (Lipset, 1972). Canada is today a class-stratified society (Porter, 1965; 
Clement, 1983), though with some fair degree of egalitarian idealism (Horowitz, 1976; Lipset, 
1972). In fact, in worldwide comparisons, Canada might be considered relatively egalitarian 
(Hofstede, 1980). In recognition of this, the present study was conceived to include an eventual 
extension to Japanese and perhaps Hindi in order to examine ownership in societies with 
increasingly stronger degrees of social stratification. 
The site of the Cree research was Attawapiskat, Ontario. This is a Cree community on the 
West Coast of the James Bay. It has been studied anthropologically by both Honigmann (1948; 
1953: 1956: 1958: 1968; 1981) and Molohon (1982). Presently, Attawapiskat has slightly over 1000 
residents and the town includes a model hospital, school and air strip. Attawapiskat has had a 
history of efficient band administration, including prohibition of alcohol, a potato farming 
program, and local radio and TV stations. Community and residential dish antennae have 
become increasingly common over the last few years. Of particular importance for the present 
linguistic study is the generational linguistic division of the community (Bennett & Berry, 1986; 
Molohon, 1982). Those older than 40 tend to be literate Cree unilinguals and those younger than 
40 tend to be Cree/English bilinguals but with uneven literacy in Cree and English. The older 
generation in the community considers the language of the younger generation to tack both 
grammatical sophistication and a full, traditional vocabulary. The young speak “easy Cree”, 
while their elders speak “hard Cree”.

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