NunatuKavut halts caribou hunt

Staff ~ The Telegram
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A small group of woodland caribou stand under Deadman’s Lookout on the Hampden Downs. — TC Media file photo

For the first time in 40 years, fresh caribou from the George River herd is off the menu for members of the NunatuKavut Community Council.

In a statement issued midday by council leaders, the aboriginal group based in southern Labrador announced it would shelve any hunting of the herd for a period of at least one year in the name of conservation.

The George River caribou have rapidly declined from a population of about 800,000 to fewer than 30,000 in about a decade.

The provincial government has been studying the decline and taking measures to protect the population, including suspending any issuance of hunting licences.

The Government of Nunatsiavut has followed suit.

Now, the NunatuKavut Community Council — without a settled claim, but with an asserted claim in the area — is also instituting a prohibition on caribou hunting. The council has stated it will not issue permits for a year. The measure will be reviewed annually, in consultation with NunatuKavut hunters and elders.

The notice issued by the council attempts to explain the significance of the caribou hunt to people in the area.

“We — my family — are hunters and trappers and I always grew up with the knowledge and understanding that it was my right and privilege to use this resource for the benefit of my family and community,” said NunuatuKavut Community Council board member Roxanne Notley.

“I totally respect how difficult it has been to agree on no-hunting for a year, but I think our future generations will thank us for the sacrifice we make today.”

Rare event

Council vice-president, and hunter, Jim Holwell stated it will be the first time in 40 years he will be unable to hunt caribou — considered an important tradition as well as a right by council members.

“I do believe we have to take these steps to help protect what is left of the George River caribou,” Holwell said.

NunatuKavut Community Coun­cil president Todd Russell said he feels there has been mismanagement of the herd historically. He said aboriginal people should set the direction of dealing with the herd, with the provincial government playing a supporting role.

Meanwhile, “the NunatuKavut Community Council is joining the Nunatsiavut Government in respectfully asking other aboriginal groups to suspend their harvests of the herd as well,” reads the statement.

telegram@thetelegram.com

Organizations: NunuatuKavut Community Council, NunatuKavut Community Council.In

Geographic location: George River, Southern Labrador

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  • Happily Retired
    December 21, 2012 - 09:15

    The people of Labrador have already told Todd Russell what they think of him .He's the only Liberal incumbent since Confederation who was booted out of his seat in Labrador, losing to Peter Penashue. What a joke. Now he's leading this Nunatukavut group which has no credibility or recognition anywhere outside of their own minds. Yvonne Jones will be the next Member of Parliament for Labrador. Just wait and see.

  • Don
    December 21, 2012 - 06:36

    Todd Russell trying to make political points again. How stupid does he think we are. All he is interested in is making points with the people for the next federal election.