Full text: Ownership as interpersonal dominance

The responses to the interview questions can be found in the study data base in Appendix 
E. A summary of the types of things that respondents mentioned as good exemplars for 
showing the meaning of own to a child appear in Table 14. The Cree produced a mean of 1.25 
exemplars (S.D.=.95) and the English-Canadians a mean of 1.85 exemplars (S.D. 1.12), which 
were not statistically different (t=2.58, df =78, p >.05). Four Cree and one English-Canadian did 
not respond to this question. 
In Table 14, exemplars are grouped into post-hoc categories which allow some inferences 
about similarities and differences in Cree and English-Canadian concepts of owning. The two 
groups were fairly balanced in their inclusion of objects of personal value, such as special 
objects, clothes, and books. The English-Canadians more frequently listed toys, house and 
environs, vehicles, and property documented by deed or bili-of-sale. This might reflect a more 
commercial and legal quality to ownership for that group. It should be noted that Attawapiskat 
is a band community, which means that the homes are legally the property of the band. A Cree 
listing a home as an example of property would not be referring to documented, legal 
ownership, but rather to home as a territory, as suggested by comments such as “things inside 
and outside the house”. One English-Canadian similarly listed “home and everything in it". 
The Cree more frequently listed living things like pets, people and oneself as good 
exemplars of property; whereas, one English-Canadian specifically said, “not a person or 
animal”. Because the Cree socialize their children for independence and have little 
appreciation of one person dominating another, the use of a person as an example of something 
owned clearly indicates that own must have little meaning of dominance for the Cree. One Cree 
respondent commented that a pet teaches children to care for their possessions and to be 
responsible for them. Two Cree respondents said that a good property examplar for a child 
should be something that morally benefits the child. 
One Cree respondent that did not name any exemplars said that he would not answer a 
child's question about the meaning of own, that children should learn that for themselves. 
Another said that to a child’s query about the meaning of own she woul answer that many 
people use words without knowing what they mean. Finally, it should be noted that one Cree 
respondent and one English-Canadian said that a good exemplar of an owned object would be 
something the children would defend or fight over.

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