Moose have provided so much to the Mi’kmaq through the years and now they will provide a model for self-government. Clifford Paul, Moose Management Coordinator explains, “The moose symposium is a significant event for Nova Scotia’s Mi’kmaq as it sets the framework for self-government. By empowering communities to take an active role in management, we will ensure our roles as stewards.”
Chiefs and Councils from Nova Scotia’s Mi’kmaq communities each selected four delegates to participate in the Gathering with four additional delegates selected by Grand Council. Delegates have experience with moose hunting issues, genuine concerns regarding the moose population and harvest, and understand how collaboration can instill the concept of Netuklimk to create M’kmaq Moose Management Guidelines.
Delegates will go back to their communities and share the thoughts, discussions and consensus of the Gathering in a clear, concise way. The objective of this Gathering is to reach consensus from community delegates on four main topics:
Non-native accompaniment on the hunt;
Selling of moose meat and products;
The acceptance of a two-month, no hunting season in the height of the summer;
Creation of Hunter Advisory Groups to aid Chief and Councils in administration and education of community members.
If the gathering can reach consensus on these four topics, technical people will then draft the Guidelines. Once delegates are satisfied that the draft represents the view of the Gathering, it will be provided to Chiefs and Councils and the Assembly for discussion and approval.
At first, the Guidelines will be voluntary and it will be the task of the Assembly, Chiefs and Councils, UINR, KMK and hunters to discuss and promote the Guidelines in the community. Eventually, we can turn the guidelines into enforceable Mi’kmaq law.
Netukulimk is the use of the natural bounty provided by the Creator, for the self-support and well-being of the individual and community. Netukulimk simply means achieving adequate standards of community nutrition and economic well-being without jeopardizing the integrity, diversity or productivity of our environment.
The Mi’kmaq way of resource management includes a spiritual element that ties the people to the plants, animals and the environment as a whole.
“Our elders maintain that, with rights, come responsibilities. By developing a Moose Management Plan, the Mi’kmaq Gathering on Moose will put into practice the responsibilities that accompany our treaty rights” says Clifford.