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Community Food System Data Tables


Map showing location of Gwich'in

The Gwich’in are Dene people within the Gwich’in Nation who reside in the northern Northwest Territories of Canada (Figure 1). The following information on the Gwich’in was obtained from a survey with Dene/Métis (D/M) by the Centre for Indigenous Peoples’ Nutrition and Environment (CINE), McGill University.

The survey involved adults in three Gwich’in communities: Teetl’it Zheh, Tsiigehtchic and Aklavik. Both 24-hr recalls (n=195) and food frequency recalls (n=195) were used to collect information on foods eaten. This survey took place in 1994 covering two seasons: March-April (late winter) and October-November (fall). Data from Tsiigehtchic and Aklavik were collected in both seasons; however, Teetl’it Zheh data were collected in the fall only.

The food use study team was comprised of the following:

  • Olivier Receveur, PhD
  • Harriet Kuhnlein, PhD
  • Carole Mills
  • William Carpenter
  • Community researchers

Notes on food groups

The data presented in the food tables do not represent absolute values. The purpose of this publication is to present a true reflection of the usual composition of foods available and/or consumed among Gwich’in community members. This is a living document and nutrient information will be added and/or updated when available.

Forty-two different foods were identified and compiled into data tables. Nutritive information was sourced from the data spreadsheet developed at CINE. The analyses of all foods were carried out at CINE laboratory. Seasonality of use, harvest information, type of procurement and other relevant information were collected through household and key informant interviews.

Information on 42 different foods collected was divided into four groups:

  1. Land Mammals
  2. Fish, Seafood and Sea Mammals
  3. Birds
  4. Plants and Berries

Important points to consider:

  • For some animals, the precise sub-species were not recognized by some members of the community. For example, most members in the community identified broad, lake and round whitefish as simply “whitefish”. Thus, all species of a particular food were put into one food record. Furthermore, there was one local name for several species, i.e. the local name “black duck” refers to both the “white-winged scoter” and “surf scoter”.
  • Some items have “cooked” listed under preparation, this means the food was cooked and not eaten raw. However, no particular cooking method was specified by the interviewee; therefore, it could imply any of the following: baked, boiled, fried or roasted.

Notes on food components

There are approximately 29 components in the main body of the tables, which are presented in a fixed format for each record.

All energy values are calculated from the energy-producing food components using the following conversion factors:

  • Carbohydrate 4 kcal/g
  • Protein 4 kcal/g
  • Fat 9 kcal/g

Vitamin A values are reported in both Vitamin A retinol equivalents (RE-ug) and in retinol activity equivalents (RAE-ug). These values are calculated and reported for only those foods for which retinol, beta carotene and total carotene values are available. Vitamins A (RAE-ug) values are reported for compatibility with the DRI (Dietary Reference Intake) recommendations.

Folate values are reported in Dietary Folate Equivalent (DFE), in addition to reporting of natural folate present in foods.




  1. Receveur, O., Boulay, M., Mills, C., Carpenter, W. and Kuhnlein, H.V. 1996. Variance in food use in Dene/Métis Communities. Technical report. Centre for Indigenous Peoples’ Nutrition and Environment (CINE), McGill.
  2. Kuhnlein, H. V., Souedia, R., Nakano, T., Spegelski, D., and Elvidge, L. 2005. Information on Gwich’in from the Dene/Métis survey and the food choice project (Report). Centre for Indigenous Peoples’ Nutrition and Environment (CINE), McGill.