"No boundary to exercise our rights" - Chief Ghislain Picard, AFNQL

QUEBEC, Feb. 24 /CNW Telbec/ - The Chief of the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador (AFNQL), Ghislain Picard, wishes to remind governments that the border separating the different provinces have no meaning for Aboriginal peoples whose ancestral territories ignore these so called borders. "There are no boundaries to exercise our Ancestral rights," he said on his return from three days spent with the 150 Innu hunters currently exercising their Aboriginal right to hunt caribou in Labrador, Newfoundland.

Since Saturday, 150 Innu from the five Innu Strategic Alliance communities have been exercising their Aboriginal rights on Nitassinan in Labrador, the Innu ancestral land that covers parts of Québec and Labrador. This traditional hunting activity is taking place in response to the governments of Canada and Newfoundland's refusal to recognize the rights of the Innu residing in Quebec.

Caribou hunting

Caribou hunting has always been and remains the cornerstone of the Innu semi-nomadic culture. Far from being reduced to the act of killing, hunting is the activity on which this society ensures its vitality.

Today, despite the forced settlements, the caribou continue to be of paramount importance to the Innu people. Their hunting and traveling within the territory is of vital cultural significance. Chief Picard wishes to congratulate the Innu hunters and elders whose traditional knowledge allows for the practice of hunting in a respectful manner towards the species and the environment. Above all, Chief Picard wishes to reiterate that, contrary to what the Government of Newfoundland asserts, the caribou herd affected by this hunting session is not part of any endangered species, and that the hunting is being carried out in accordance with habitat friendly practices. "It is strange that whenever First Nation people exercise their aboriginal rights, the government accuses them of jeopardizing the sustainability of resources. This argument is too easy and only serves to evade the fundamental issues related to the recognition of our rights," says Chief Picard.

About the AFNQL

The Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador is the organization that represents the First Nations Chiefs in Quebec and Labrador.

SOURCE Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador

For further information: For further information: Eric Cardinal, Communications Adviser, Work: (450) 638-5159, Cell.: (514) 258-2315, eric@cardinalcommunication.com

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