Caribou quotas

The Dene deal with shrinking herds.

. . . the Dene are willing to live with a little less cash and can stock their larders with moose, fish and geese. Their real objections to quotas may be cultural.Many traditional Dene believe that animals offer themselves to hunters who are skilled and respectful enough to take them, and that the honourable death of one caribou calls up its replacement.

“The land is a living thing,” Wilfred Kochon, an elder from Colville Lake, said at 2007 hearings into hunting quotas. “If you don’t use the land, it’s not alive. The caribou knows that.”

Quotas interfere with that relationship. “Managing” a wild animal restricts it in some sense and that goes deeply against the Dene grain.

“We think that we are the boss of the animals,” said elder Jim Pierrot at the same hearing. “No. We’re not the boss of it.”

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