Makivik Corp. seeks traditional knowledge about caribou
Aim is to ensure Inuit views are considered in management decisions
Makivik Corp. wants to gather Inuit knowledge on Nunavik’s caribou herds in a move to protect the dwindling species.
The research will create the foundation for future Inuit-led management of the herds and sustainable hunting practices.
Makivik recently made a call for proposals for consultants to document this knowledge, with a focus on the Leaf River and George River herds.
Consultants will collect information such as the caribou’s historical population trends, biology and behaviour, as well as the cultural importance of caribou and values related to Inuit stewardship of herds.
Consultants are also expected to draft a research report and develop a best-practices guide for caribou hunting.
The upcoming project comes from concerns from hunters about the sustainability of current harvesting practices in Nunavik. Caribou herds in the region have significantly decreased—the Leaf River herd is in an ongoing decline, while the state of the George River herd is considered critical.
Makivik says it became clear at a recent workshop on caribou management that Nunavik Inuit hunting practices should adapt.
The research, which will end with consultants drafting a report on their findings and best practices guide for caribou hunting, will also help highlight Nunavik Inuit voices. Makivik says it’s difficult to engage the government on this issue when Nunavik Inuit knowledge is undocumented.
For example, when official documents like the recent assessment from the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada are being developed, Nunavik Inuit knowledge isn’t considered, says Makivik, because it’s not easily accessible.
And when the Quebec government developed a management plan for the Leaf River herd, Inuit knowledge only played a small role.
The deadline for the call for proposals passed on Dec. 18. Chosen consultants will work with Makivik’s Department of Environment, Wildlife and Research, with the aim of completing research by March 31, 2020.