KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – Last year’s Mi’kmaq moose hunt in Cape Breton Highlands National Park was steeped in controversy. There were confrontations between Mi’kmaw hunters and protesters, who claimed that the cull constituted a threat to the moose population, contrary to what the Park’s ecologists had determined.
The confrontations were widely reported, although the context of treaty rights was barely mentioned by most journalists. And only reporter Tina Roache of APTN wrote about the racist signs held in plain sight by the protesters.
This weekend’s video, by film maker Madeline Yakimchuk, tells the story of the Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq initiative to manage the harvest of moose in the Cape Breton Highlands through a traditional hunt. It’s presented by the Unama’ki Instititute of Natural Resources, the organization engaged by Parks Canada to manage the Mi’kmaq-led harvest,
The documentary explains how the right to take moose is defined in the treaties, and relates the long struggle through the courts to get that right recognized. It also shows how, after some chaotic years following the court victory, the Mi’kmaw community stepped up and introduced rules that made the hunt a safe and low impact event.
It’s all about respect for the animal, sharing with the community, stewardship and safety. And it is about elders teaching young people traditions that go back a very long time.
Check it out.