By: Anishnabe Moose Committee
A new grassroots-led research report reveals that moose in Anishnabe (Algonquin) territory are being threatened by unsustainable sport hunting and irresponsible logging. In light of this research, the Anishnabe Moose Committee, which has led the research process, is calling for the continuation of the sport hunt moratorium in La Verendrye Wildlife Reserve, which is situated on unceded and unsurrendered Anishnabe territory in Western Quebec.
Throughout the spring and summer of 2022, community consultations and workshops took place in all the Algonquin communities in Québec and Ontario. The goal of these workshops was to bring together the knowledge that is collectively held by Elders, harvesters, and land users regarding the state of the moose population and their environment.
Anishnabe people depend on moose for food security and intergenerational cultural teachings. Moose are not only a food source for Anishnabeg: every single part of the animal is used to make traditional clothing, tools, and drums, among other things. The Anishnabe way of life depends on a thriving moose population.
Results from this research clearly point towards the unsustainable sport hunt in Anishnabe territory, as well as irresponsible logging that is taking its toll on the entire ecosystem. Other threats to the moose include mining, ticks, and climate change.
A moratorium on sport hunting has been in place in La Verendrye for the past two years. In 2020, in response to the sharp decline in moose observed by Elders and land users in the past years that called for a need to protect the moose, grassroots efforts blocked the roads into their territory to stop the sport hunt.
Following these efforts, a sport hunt moratorium was put in place in La Verendrye in agreement with Quebec for the 2021 and 2022 moose hunt seasons. The extension of the moratorium past the 2022 hunting season would be dependent on the results of research undertaken in the meantime on the moose population in La Verendrye.
The official members at the negotiation table for the continuation of the moratorium include tribal council members and biologists and biologists and staff from the Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs. The Anishnabe Moose Committee is hopeful that the community-based findings will serve as evidence for the negotiations taking place and that the sport hunt moratorium will be extended to conduct additional studies.
The report is available publicly in English and in French here: https://anishnabeanikiwin.org/