Learning Story – Gun Safety

What Happened? 

Two Bushkids and one knowledge holder brought their .22’s to Bushkids. They were stored safely before and after our morning circle. The Bushkids and knowledge holders shared how to respect their gun, how to hold it safely and what animals/birds they hunt with it. Many Bushkids asked questions (Where do you shoot the bird? Can you hunt big animals with it? What happens to the bullet? Can you shoot the gun without a bullet in it?) The Bushkids had an opportunity to learn how to hold the gun safely. One bullet and a shell were also shown to demonstrate what happens when the bullet is shot. We spoke about the type of language that is used when we talk about guns (ex. hunt vs kill). 

Why was this important? 

The two Bushkids who brought their guns were so proud to show them and to speak about them. This demonstrated great trust and responsibility. They also trusted other Bushkids to hold their guns safely. We wonder if some of the other kids thought “Maybe I could do this too and go hunting with my own gun?”

Many of the Bushkids ended up playing creative, active and physical games where sticks were used as imaginary guns. Instead of repetitively saying “we don’t point guns at people”, we thought it might be helpful to dig into an inquiry about why we don’t point guns at people. This helps the Bushkids better understand the reality of guns, how we respectfully use them, and how different that is from what the Bushkids might see in a video game.

We noticed how attentive and careful the Bushkids were during our morning circle throughout this discussion. We were so proud of their questions and the respect given to the guns and the owners of the guns. We have never done this before at Bushkids and we noticed how important and impactful it was for the Bushkids and also the adults!

What’s Next?

We hope to bring the guns back again to review the parts of the gun, how to get a gun license and to share more hunting stories. We also plan to play the Dene game snow snake which is a game used to practice a traditional way to hunt caribou with a spear. Using nerf guns, we could practice how to set up a safe target shooting area if it is not a windy day. We could make our own bows and arrows and learn about this type of hunting compared to hunting with a rifle or spear. We would love to share stories about the beluga whale hunt at White Fish Station, west of Tuktoyaktuk, that takes place every summer.