Manitoba Metis Federation are part of a consultative process along with Manitoba Resource Development to ensure Moose populations are not damaged. The MMF reported on this year’s hunt. In northern Manitoba, Indigenous hunters may hunt on Crown land and do not need to apply for a permit, though night hunting by rights holders is prohibited near occupied sites and roadways for safety reasons.
“Following our Métis Laws of the Harvest our registered Harvesting Parties, led by Captains of the Hunt, went out into the bush to hunt moose and other wildlife.” Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) President David Chartrand explained.
“Because of harassment by overly zealous conservation officers, our parents were forced to hunt after dark, cutting up the meat in a panic, and hiding our food,” said MMF Vice President Leah LaPlante, “They were just trying to feed their families. I remember their struggles and the emotions we felt as children. Everyone was anxious. After so many years, we continue to face the denial of our rights and traditions. I am proud that today our Harvesters can hunt without fear, during the day, and out in the open, knowing their Métis Government is there to support them.”
In 2012, the Government of Manitoba closed a number of Game Hunting Areas (GHAs) for moose hunting due to low populations. At the time, the MMF, upon review of the scientific data and consultation with Elders, received direction from our Community to close the GHAs in the Porcupine and Duck Mountains.
This past fall, based on the Manitoba Government’s moose survey evidence and input from our Harvesters and Elders, the MMF determined it was safe to reopen the GHAs for a limited sustainable conservation moose harvest. The provincial government’s documents demonstrated that 60 bull moose could be harvested. The MMF issued 24 special Conservation Moose Tags to randomly drawn Métis Harvesting Parties.
The Métis people have been harvesting big game in coordinated parties for the benefit of the community since the early 1800s. Harvesting parties are designated; captains are selected and the resulting harvest is shared with the community – particularly with its most vulnerable. The coordinated and shared harvest is one of the pillars of Métis culture that continues today.
“We continue our ancestral practices today of organizing our hunt, following our law, and sharing our bounty,” concluded President Chartrand. “We will continue to protect our collective rights and to steward our moose populations for a sustainable future.”
As part of the Wildlife Amendment Act, Manitoba will have the authority to establish shared management committees to provide recommendations for the conservation and management of wildlife in specific areas. Indigenous representatives must comprise at least 50 per cent of every shared management committee, and the committees must also include hunters, outfitters and local land owners. The government will consider advice from this committee regarding reopening areas to hunting when the moose population rebounds.