Limited Métis moose hunt a success

·3 min read

The Manitoba Metis Federation announced this week it had successfully completed a sustainable and limited moose hunt Jan. 15.

"Despite the scare tactics used by the Government of Manitoba in an attempt to frighten or discourage Métis harvesters, our people’s response to our sustainable moose hunting initiative has been very positive," MMF president David Chartrand stated in a news release.

"Following our Métis laws of the harvest our registered harvesting parties, led by captains of the hunt, went out into the bush to hunt moose and other wildlife."

The hunts took place despite the province’s objections.

In October, after the federation announced its plan to allow for 24 tags for bulls to teams, who would also provide meat to elders and others in their communities, Minister of Agriculture and Resource Development Blaine Pedersen stated in an email to The Brandon Sun that the province did not support the plan.

For Leah LaPlante, the minister responsible for that portfolio with the federation, she recalls childhood memories of her father having to sneak out in the night in order to feed the family.

"Because of harassment by overly zealous conservation officers, our parents were forced to hunt after dark, cutting up the meat in a panic and hiding our food," she stated in the news release.

"They were just trying to feed their families. I remember their struggles and the emotions we felt as children. Everyone was anxious. After so many years, we continue to face the denial of our rights and traditions. I am proud that today our harvesters can hunt without fear, during the day, and out in the open, knowing their Métis government is there to support them."

The teams of harvesters found moose in the Porcupine and Duck Mountains. It has been almost 10 years since moose hunting in those areas were closed.

At the time, the MMF agreed with the moratorium. But, this fall, the federation made the decision that moose numbers meant a sustainable harvesting of moose could take place.

"None of our moose hunters were charged with offences. We will continue to follow up and have discussions with harvesters and elders to develop this conservation-minded initiative further for next year’s harvest," said Chartrand.

"I’d like to extend special thanks to the harvesting parties and the captains who ensured the harvest was done in accordance with our principles and our laws. They also made sure our elders and vulnerable community members received meat from the harvest and didn’t have to worry so much about food during this pandemic. It’s our spirit of sharing and our commitment to community that makes the Manitoba Métis who we are."

Chartrand added that the federation is in communication with other Indigenous right holders, such as the Southern Chiefs’ Organization.

The intent is to establish a collaborative Indigenous-led wildlife authority, "with the shared goals of sustainably managing and investing in our wildlife’s future and protecting our collective rights."

Michèle LeTourneau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun