"What Will It Take To Make Traditional Foods Thrive Again?"

"Skeena River sockeye have declined 75% since 1913. Woodland caribou have declined by more than half in the past century. But with the right resources, First Nations are bringing ancestral foods back from the brink".

"Before colonization, woodland caribou were “a convenient food” for West Moberly First Nations, Chief Roland Willson says.

“If you needed to eat, you knew that you could always go and get a caribou. They were always there,” he says. “You could always catch a fish and feed your family or feed yourself with it.”

Today, the West Moberly and Saulteau First Nations cannot harvest caribou because they are endangered. They are working together to bring the caribou they rely on back from the brink of extinction.

“We need to grow the herds and get them to the point where we can now sustainably harvest caribou,” Willson says.

Traditionally, West Moberly harvested in seasonal rounds, and the wellness of their non-human relatives was always front of mind. That cycle has been disrupted — when they can’t harvest caribou, more pressure is put on moose and elk. And as they go without harvesting caribou, the passing of Traditional Knowledge about their seasonal rounds is also disrupted, Willson says."

Steph Kwetásel’wet Wood reports for The Narwhal October 6, 2023.

Source: The Narwhal, 10/09/2023