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Iqaluit’s hunting grounds are sacred

By NUNATSIAQ NEWS

Years ago my father told me, “Animals need space. Animals need peace.”

My father is long dead. Over the years, I’ve always tried to attach meaning to his words.

Today, I understand. My father was referring to the abnormal increase in the volume of noise caused by reckless hunters and weekend joy riders.

In the 1960s and 1970s outboards and snowmobiles replaced dog teams. Our dog teams were systematically being wiped out by the RCMP, acting on directives from the federal government in Ottawa. The tranquil silence of our hunting grounds is now polluted by the vengeance of noise.

The long reach of the feds still controls us all. Our past leaders, such as Arnakallak, are yet being stripped of their powers, and the impact their words have on our young hunters.

Our hunting grounds are being treated with disrespect because of the folly of government officials regarding the harvesting of wildlife and use of land. In a nutshell, my dad was telling me:

* animals leave sacred hunting grounds;
* animals move with other animals;
* animals’ new sanctuaries are unable to sustain the increased numbers;
* legitimate hunters are blamed; and,
* questionable conservation practice is legitimized.

Arnakallak, in his wisdom, would say to his people:

* hunt in an area for a short while, then move on;
* do not hunt nor trek on a hunting ground that has already been visited;
* allow animals to feel at home and welcome in all hunting grounds;
* respect hunting grounds and regard them as sacred; and,
* avoid undue disturbances of all wildlife.

The sacred hunting grounds in Iqaluit are losing their prominence. It’s not too late to correct the errors of our ways.

Jacopoosie Peter
Iqaluit

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