Full text: Ownership as interpersonal dominance

The English-Canadian equivalent to Attawapiskat was sought in island and village 
communities of Eastern Ontario. The primary site of the English-Canadian research was 
Amherst Island, just west of Kingston, Ontario. Amherst Island has about 400 permanent 
residents, with perhaps as many cottagers in the summer. There is one village on the island, 
though most residents live along rural roads. As documented in historical geographic research 
(Norris, 1977), many residents trace their origins to nineteenth century Angio-Ceiltic immigrants, 
and there has been little settlement by other ethnic groups, even in recent years. Not all of the 
English-Canadian respondents were recruited from Amherst Island. Three were from Simcoe 
island, just to the east of Amherst Island, and five were from the Sydenham Village district, just 
north of Kingston. 
An initial pilot investigation among the Cree consisted of interviews modeled on Furby’s 
(1978a,b) protocol, conducted in English where possible and in Cree with the help of an 
interpreter. The objective was to identify terms of ownership that would be common and 
important in Cree, but that would also have comparable forms in languages of stratified 
societies (Canadian-English, Japanese, Hindi). Pilot study respondents were six adult Cree from 
Attawapiskat, three Catholic priests who had made careers of serving in the James Bay area, 
and a legal aid lawyer. They were asked about expressions of ownership, for enumerations of 
property, for definitions of ownership, for sentiments of ownership, for means of acquisition, 
and for ownership relations. Based on earlier research (Rudmin, 1983), 108 English verbs of 
possession and ownership were presented in English to two bilingual informants who identified 
verbs that were and were not important in Cree conceptualizations of ownership. These 108 
verbs were also translated into Cree and then back-translated into English (Brislin, 1980). This 
was done twice by independent sets of interpreters. These translations were checked by three 
different teachers of Cree, who also identified “hard Cree” words that might not be known by the 
younger generation. Japanese translations of the verbs of possession were established by 
forward-and-back translation by two independent pairs of Japanese-English bilingual 
informants. Hindi translations were tentatively made by a single informant. 
In the final selection of stimuli, priority was given to terms that were important for the Cree 
conceptualization of ownership, that were known to be “easy Cree” and therefore 
understandable to most of the community, that had greater consensus on translation, and that 
had clear equivalents in English, Japanese, and Hindi. To keep the psycholinguistic tasks

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