As the weather cools and the leaves change colour, communities and families begin to gather and prepare for the Fall Hunt. Since time immemorial, Indigenous Peoples have practiced subsistence hunting and maintained the balance of nature by following cultural protocol around hunting practices.
Hunting is a key part of food sovereignty—practice of Indigenous communities retaining (or reclaiming) the ability to sustainably grow, harvest and consume nutritionally and culturally important foods in a way that respects traditions and the land.
As such, we are to be mindful of some key points:
Pay the land and put tobacco down.
The act of placing tobacco on the land is the act of being respectful for the life you are about to take and for the past lives you have taken to feed your family or communities.
Only take what you need, and waste nothing.
Traditionally, Indigenous Peoples used every part of the animal and did not waste. The bones were cooked and then cracked to provide marrow. The tongue, nose and livers were often provided to the Elders, as these are considered to be a delicacy. Hooves, antlers, bones and teeth are used in arts and for crafting. Hides are skinned, prepared, tanned and stretched to create clothing and moccasins.
Do not hunt during calving seasons.
Respect the cow moose—give her the time she needs to grow her young. Hunting cow moose reduces future moose populations and can cause unnecessary stress that may impact the young she is carrying.
Share with others in your community.
Hunting takes much effort and requires a team to take an animal, and then skin, quarter, and prepare the meat for the dinner table. Consider sharing meat with Elders and those less fortunate who may not be able to hunt. Share knowledge with youth by inviting them to experience the hunt and the activities involved. One day, they may use this knowledge to feed their own families and communities, and the cycle begins anew.
CIER is proud to have had the opportunity to contribute to a number of food sovereignty projects and help support Indigenous communities. View some of those projects here: https://yourcier.org/our-projects/