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Minister’s “illegal” caribou hunt argument is colonialist

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This morning I listened to CBC Radio’s Labrador Morning coverage of the “illegal” caribou hunt in Southern Labrador. The interview with Environment and Conservation Minister Perry Trimper clearly showed, to me, his participation in a colonial system that serves to turn people against each other.

Let’s lay blame on a group of hunters as being responsible for the demise of a caribou herd, and overlook the massive devastation of land that caribou has migrated through for years. Any suggestion that “development” of the land for mining or hydro electricity was quickly brushed aside and the focus fell to the hunters as being responsible.

This whole discussion speaks clearly about how alive and well colonization is today. We even get it from those who represent us politically.

For goodness sakes, let us understand that a way of life, a culture, a dependency of the Indigenous population on this land and surrounding areas is slyly being wiped away for the sake of political wants and to satisfy a disconnected population with no interest or ties to traditional practices in any meaningful way. The traditionalist is expected to sacrifice their very connection to all that is spiritual, sustaining, and representative of who they are for someone else’s “gains”.

Shame on you Perry Trimper, for even suggesting that this should be resolved around a table in some board room. This is as far from traditional as it gets; the land people are stronger on the land. This is further assimilation, much like taking the people of Hebron into the church to inform them of relocation.

Shame on me for not being able to stand up and stop this ongoing takeover of Our Labrador, for allowing our homeland and its resources to be sold and traded for a few satisfying dollars for a select few people.

This type of practice turns our people into criminals and thieves, and against each other, when really all someone is doing is trying to live as they did since time immemorial. Bravo to those “Robin Hoods” who keep traditions alive in a meaningful way — not just by talk, but by doing. Talk is cheap, doing is being.

I say thank goodness for the hunters who feed their Elders, children and communities the food from the land. It is a longing that is felt throughout our region as we go without.

Shirley Flowers / Happy Valley-Goose Bay

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