'A blessing at his age': Cree youth shows signs of strong hunting skills

·2 min read
Ten-year-old Myles Cooper has already harvested three geese this spring. He got his first ever goose when he was just six years old in 2017. (Submitted by Tony Cooper - image credit)
Ten-year-old Myles Cooper has already harvested three geese this spring. He got his first ever goose when he was just six years old in 2017. (Submitted by Tony Cooper - image credit)

A 10-year-old boy in a northern Quebec Cree community is being celebrated for being a promising hunter.

Myles Cooper of Oujé-Bougoumou has harvested three geese so far this spring — two of them on April 10 on Opémisca Lake near the Cree community of close to 950 and about 730 kilometres north of Montreal.

"My little cousin … he was goose calling. [The geese] came closer, closer every minute," said Myles, adding his nimushum (grandfather) continued calling the geese and throwing rocks in the water.

"I went to go grab my gun and I reloaded, and went down there," he said.

Myles shot and killed one goose and then went after a second goose which had flown not too far away.

"He was very patient, observing the target - Tony Cooper, Myles's father

"I went toward him and shot him again … [I felt] happy."

The ten-year old harvested another goose on Sunday.

This year's harvest isn't Myles's first kill. He got his very first goose at the tender age of six in 2017, at Obatagamou Lake near Chibougamau, Que., which is about 60 kilometres east of Oujé-Bougoumou, according to his father, Tony Cooper.

Myles's dad remembers noticing how patient his son was in 2017 despite his young age.

Myles's dad Tony Cooper said he had tears of joy when he saw his son with the goose in his hand.
Myles's dad Tony Cooper said he had tears of joy when he saw his son with the goose in his hand.(Submitted by Tony Cooper)

"He was very patient, observing the target, then he cocked the gun. He aimed and shot, the head of the goose dropped forward and down," said Tony, in Cree.

"I got emotional with tears of joy … when I saw him with the goose in his hand."

Tony said he and Myles's mom, Christianna, couldn't be more proud of the hunter their son is becoming.

"It's a blessing at his age, when you know someone like him to have a good skill," said Tony.

"For me, I think when you teach the young early, they know how to hunt," said Tony, adding the family prepared a special feast to celebrate Myles's first kill back in 2017 and taught him how to cut up the goose.

As part of the feast and according to Cree tradition, Myles's grandmother beaded and sewed up the head of the goose for him to keep a memory of this special kill.

"Encourage them, teach your children that they look after properly when they kill something, that they have respect for where they hunt, out on the land," said Tony.

Myles's parents say it's a blessing to have such skill at his age.
Myles's parents say it's a blessing to have such skill at his age.(Submitted by Tony Cooper)