Caring for Atikuat/Caribou

The Project

This is a collaborative project that seeks to progressively enroll the various parties that are concerned about the fate of ‘caribou’ in Labrador. This research builds from the idea that the different words used to refer to ‘caribou’ in the various languages spoken in Labrador symbolize the different ways in which people conceive and care for caribou. This difference makes the caring for caribou a challenge for not just any form of caring (quotas, hunting restriction, etc.,) will do for all concerned parties. The project then seeks to make visible the different understandings that are at stake in conceiving what ‘caring for attikuta/tuttuk/caribou’ implies and, on the basis of this knowledge, attempts to build strategies based on a strong consensus across the board. What this means is that we seek consensus not only across institutional ‘stakeholders’ (i.e., Aboriginal governments; Federal and Provincial agencies) but also across the heterogeneous constituencies of these institutional stakeholders. Our assumption is that, given the characteristics of Labrador, no management strategy will work without the conviction from the ground up that what is being done is acceptable. The project is starting with a small group composed by the Canada Research Chair in Aboriginal Studies and the Labrador Institute (for its academic component); the Innu-run Tshikapisk Foundation (an association of Innu interested in promoting country life and values); and the Environment Office of Innu Nation. The Division of Natural Resources of Newfoundland has expressed an interest in taking part in the project activities as soon as the new Senior Biologist position is filled. We hope that other concerned parties will be enrolled as the project proceeds.


November 25th-30, workshops with hunters and elders were hosted in Shehatshiu and Natuashish.