First Nations and Inuit join forces over caribou conservation

A caribou in the Torngat Mountains. (Nunatsiavut Government)
A caribou in the Torngat Mountains. (Nunatsiavut Government)
Caribou is central to Inuit and First Nations cultural life in northern Canada. But the decrease in the numbers of certain herds is causing concern in many aboriginal nations.

In northern Quebec and the neighbouring province of Newfoundland and Labrador, the George River herd has declined to alarming numbers, from 800, 000 animals 30 years ago to some 27,000 animals today.

There are also concerns about the kind of pressures the decline of the Geroge River herd may put on the Torngat Mountains herd and the Leaf River herd, say aboriginal leaders.

The Ungava Peninsula Caribou Aboriginal Round Table held their third meeting September 24-25 in Nain, the capital of the Inuit self-governing region of Nunatsiavut in Newfoundland and Labrador, to discuss caribou conservation, preservation and food security.

The Round Table is made up of Innu, Inuit, Metis, Naskapi and Cree from Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador.

To get an update on the Round Table and their latest meeting, I recently spoke to Sarah Leo, president of Nunatsiavut and co-chair of the Ungava Peninsula Caribou Aboriginal Round Table.

Related Links:

Climate change can be deadly to caribou calves says study, CBC News

Nunavut summit to discuss caribou decline, CBC News

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn is an award-winning journalist and manages Radio Canada International’s Eye on the Arctic news cooperation project. Eilís has reported from the Arctic regions of all eight circumpolar countries and has produced numerous documentary and multimedia series about climate change and the issues facing Indigenous peoples in the North.

Her investigative report "Death in the Arctic: A community grieves, a father fights for change," about the murder of Robert Adams, a 19-year-old Inuk man from Arctic Quebec, received the silver medal for “Best Investigative Article or Series” at the 2019 Canadian Online Publishing Awards. The project also received an honourable mention for excellence in reporting on trauma at the 2019 Dart Awards in New York City.

Her report “The Arctic Railway: Building a future or destroying a culture?” on the impact a multi-billion euro infrastructure project would have on Indigenous communities in Arctic Europe was a finalist at the 2019 Canadian Association of Journalists award in the online investigative category.

Her multimedia project on the health challenges in the Canadian Arctic, "Bridging the Divide," was a finalist at the 2012 Webby Awards.

Her work on climate change in the Arctic has also been featured on the TV science program Découverte, as well as Le Téléjournal, the French-Language CBC’s flagship news cast.

Eilís has worked for media organizations in Canada and the United States and as a TV host for the Discovery/BBC Worldwide series "Best in China."

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