Grand Council of The Crees (Eeyou Istchee)/Cree Nation Government Bans Harvest Of George River Herd and Condemns Unauthorized Activities of Non-JBNQA Beneficiaries Related to Caribou Harvesting in Eeyou Istchee

NEMASKA, Eeyou Istchee (November 29, 2018) –The Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee)/Cree Nation Government continues to be gravely concerned about the serious decline in the Leaf River and George River caribou herds whose populations have dropped to alarming numbers.

Strict conservation measures will be implemented by the Cree Nation to alleviate pressure on the caribou herds. Dangerous declines of certain wildlife have in the past triggered conservation measures imposed by the Cree to assist in the replenishment of a species at risk.  The health and conservation of these herds will take precedence and be a priority ahead of any harvesting.

A resolution banning all harvest of the George River Herd, including harvesting by beneficiaries of the JBNQA, until the population has reached a sustainable level was unanimously adopted by the Board/Council of the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee)/Cree Nation Government on November 27, 2018 by all leadership.

A second resolution was adopted on the same day requesting that all non-beneficiaries of the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement (JBNQA) and Northeastern Quebec Agreement (NEQA) respect the Hunting, Fishing and Trapping regime of the territory.

As a self-governing nation, we also maintain our own traditional land and wildlife management system built on fundamental principles and values that govern our practices. Our harvesting rights and traditional practices embraces conservation and security responsibilities to ensures that our harvesting activities are safe, respectful and do not affect the sustainability of our wildlife resources.

Non-beneficiary hunters travelling to our territory are thus subject to Quebec laws and regulations of general application and are asked to refrain from harvesting caribou in Eeyou Istchee whether they are alone or accompanied by beneficiaries of the JBNQA and NEQA. The Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee)/Cree Nation Government maintains its position against the practice of “unauthorized guiding” and has requested that Cree, Inuit and Naskapi beneficiaries cease any “unauthorized guiding” activities.

We ask that all beneficiaries of the JBNQA act with the outmost respect and preservation for the caribou.

The Cree Nation recognizes the importance of the caribou for all of the Ungava people as well as the difficulties faced by our respective nations during this time of caribou scarcity. This is why we strongly support the work of the Ungava Peninsula Caribou Aboriginal Round Table (UPCART) and encourage all seven nations concerned by the preservation of the Ungava Caribou to pursue and commit to these efforts together in finding common solutions. The caribou has permitted our people to survive for millennia and now we must in turn ensure its survival and assume our responsibilities by letting this population rest and replenish.

For more information:

Tina Petawabano
Indigenous Relations
Cree Nation Government
Tel: 514-209-9117

Nadia Saganash
Wildlife Administrator
Cree Nation Government
Tel: 514-213-5754

A Full PDF Version of this Press Release can be downloaded here