Innu of Labrador say they are willing to compromise on caribou hunting ban

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NATUASHISH, N.L. - An aboriginal group in Labrador says it's opposed to a new provincial ban on caribou hunting, but an Innu spokesman says there's room for compromise.

Prote Poker, grand chief of the 650 Innu in Natuashish, says his people won't agree to a ban, but they are prepared to reduce the number of caribou taken each year.

Poker says the Innu in Natuashish and 1,300 residents farther south in Sheshatshiu typically kill and eat about 900 caribou annually.

He says there's a proposal on the table to reduce that number to about 300 — an idea that will be discussed at a meeting Wednesday in Sheshatshiu.

Poker says about half of the residents in the two communities eat caribou, an animal that has been at the centre of Innu culture for thousands of years.

On Monday, the Newfoundland and Labrador government said a total ban was needed because the main Labrador herd has dropped to less than 20,000 caribou, a decline of 70 per cent since 2010.

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Sheshatshiu

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