Learning Story – Caribou People
The Week of February 21, 2023
Elder Edna Paul brought caribou meat and dry meat (porcupine herd) to cook and share with us. Our morning circle was full of questions and curiosities about caribou. We asked “What does it mean when it says we are caribou people?” and it was hard for the Bushkids to answer that question. We reframed and said “Why are caribou important to people here?” There were so many ideas.
“They provide food.”
“The hide is used for clothes, for mittens, for slippers, for mukluks, for jewellery.” We explained that the Bathurst caribou are in trouble. Their numbers have gone from 300,000+ to less than 8,000 in 30 years. We asked “Why do you think this is happening?”
“They aren’t able to find food to eat.”
“The wolves are eating them.”
“The weather is changing.”
“We are hunting them too much.”
We asked “What happens to caribou when the mines are built?”
“There are more buildings.”
“They are confused.”
Why is this important?
The Bushkids had so many questions – about the meat and the bones when we started to prepare it, where they live, what they eat, how they survive the winter, what it means to migrate, what impact does mining have on the migration pattern. We told the story of
caribou boy. Tammy Steinwand says “If our people are not out there on the Land, the caribou will go away.” (from the film we shared with you this week). We hope you have time to watch the video with your child. It’s important to understand how the caribou are being protected and how important the caribou are for Indigenous peoples here on this Land “who will we become if we lose the caribou”.