QUEBEC CITY, Feb. 1, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - The Chiefs of the Innu First
Nations of the Quebec Region are taking stock of the situation of the
George River caribou. On January 28, 2013, the Government of
Newfoundland-and-Labrador announced that it is prohibiting the hunting
of the Mushuau Atik caribou (George River) in Labrador for a period of
five years, including for First Nations and Inuit peoples1.
The Innu First Nations of the Quebec Region have traditional territories
in Labrador and have been practicing their traditional activities since
before the Europeans' arrival. The Chiefs of the Innu First Nations of
the Quebec Region take cognizance of the Government of
Newfoundland-and-Labrador's position and in no way endorse this
unilateral approach and formally reject any hunting stoppage regarding
the Mushuau Atik herd.
"The protection of our political and territorial rights is essential. We
are analyzing all the options presently offered to us in order to
defend our connection with the caribou", mentions Chief Réal Mckenzie
of Matimekush-Lac John.
"The governments have failed in their efforts to manage the caribou and
protect our ancestral rights; today, it is time that the First Nations
take back their rightful leadership role in the management and
protection of the territory and the caribou. Once again, non-Aboriginal
governments make decisions that affect Aboriginal peoples without
consulting them, which is in violation of their obligations towards
them in virtue of the Constitution and the United Nations Declaration
on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples", according to Vice-Chief Mike
Mckenzie of Uashat mak Mani-utenam.
"We have this particular relationship with Atik (caribou) which has
allowed the Innu people to survive in Nitassinan for millennia.
Therefore, the Innu have the duty to ensure its protection. We must
also, by ourselves, identify the means we will take to maintain our
subsistence hunting, our food safety and the transmission of our
cultural and spiritual knowledge", adds Chief Jean-Charles Piétacho of
the Innu Nation of Ekuanitshit.
Innu Political Leadership
The Innu First Nations of Quebec who, just like their Innu brothers from
the Innu First Nations of Labrador, have millennial and sacred ties
with the Mushuau Atik (George River) herd, are greatly concerned by the
current situation (decline) of the caribou herd.
In an objective of showing their leadership and political sovereignty as
well as confirming their millennial governance connection and
responsibility towards the caribou, an important political meeting will
be held on February 7, 2013 in Uashat mak Mani-utenam between the nine Innu First Nation chiefs
from the Quebec Region and a delegation from the Naskapi Nation of
Kawawachikamach in order to take position, take stock of the current situation and
propose possible solutions and actions that respect our culture and
relationship with the caribou.
This meeting follows the one held in Kuujjuaq on January 16 and 17, 2013
in which all the First Nations and Inuit present agreed to individually
take engagement actions and approaches toward the caribou. For the
Innu, the co-management of the territory and the caribou habitat is
undeniably a major option in the preservation and protection of
Nitassinan and the caribou.
Finally, the Innu First Nations from the Quebec Region will be present at the Leadership Summit of the 7 First Nation and Inuit
groups of Quebec and Labrador concerned by the caribou to be held at
the beginning of April 2013.
SOURCE: Innu First Nations of Quebec
For further information:
For interviews, contact Réal Mckenzie at: 1-(418)-961-8597.
For other information: Serge Ashini Goupil, 1-(418)-609-0491 - firstname.lastname@example.org