The Algonquin Moose Research Committee and Research for the Front Lines are fundraising to cover research expenses for a study of moose populations in and around La Vérendrye Wildlife Park. These moose populations have reportedly dropped by 35% in the past 12 years. The final report from this research will be used to advocate for extending the moratorium on moose sport hunting and for the development of an Algonquin-led Moose Management Plan to support the health and wellbeing of the moose.
The Park is located on the unceded traditional territory of the Algonquin people who seek peaceful coexistence across communities. We are working to protect the moose which are essential to our Algonquin culture and ways of life and for healthy traditional foods. Our communities have consistently faced settler government control, broken promises and unwanted industrial projects. Government and industry have been extracting resources from our territories, taking from these communities and lands and harming the moose, and offering very little in return.
This research project will gather the information needed to help the Algonquin people fight for our rights to take care of the moose and the land and to manage the impacts that threaten the moose’s existence – including logging, climate change, disease and pests. Our communities are reclaiming the power to manage these lands. The research will help support this important work.
What makes this research special?
This research will be carried out using ‘Two-Eyed Seeing’ as a guiding framework. Two-Eyed Seeing research aims to use the strengths of Indigenous knowledges and ways of knowing, alongside mainstream or Western methods to strengthen the overall outcome of a piece of research. It is a decided step away from research that assimilates Indigenous knowledge systems without acknowledgement. Moreover, it is a framework that values plural knowledges in order to offer more robust insights that can help build a more sustainable future.
Although for this study we will be drawing on both Indigenous and settler knowledge and methods to research the impacts and causes of decline, our Knowledge Keepers will be the only decision-makers in the study.
Why does this need to be done?
In August of 2019 the leadership of the Algonquin Anishinaabe Nation requested an immediate moratorium from the Quebec government on sport hunting. Additionally, we requested that the government complete a survey on the moose population and co-develop a moose management programme for moose conservation in the La Vérendrye Wildlife Park. SEPAQ had no moose management plan in place at that time.
Moose are currently threatened not only by sport hunting, but also logging, mining, climate change, disease and parasites. The marked decline in moose numbers is of great concern to us as they are an important and vital source of food for members of our community. However, clear details of what’s causing the decline and how to best intervene to protect this highly important animal are needed.
When our request for a moratorium was not met, the Algonquin Anishinaabe Nation enforced one of our own, blocking seven access roads to the hunting area at the height of the mobilization. In spite of the violence and aggression we faced from settler sport hunters, we held firm and got part of the result we were looking for: as of September 2021 the government moved to suspend sport hunting until fall 2023.
In order to develop a much-needed long term moratorium and an effective management plan, the Algonquin Moose Research Committee will be conducting a research study to understand the factors impacting moose populations and their health. The research will be conducted throughout the spring and summer of 2022 in collaboration with Research for the Front Lines, with the goal of releasing the much-needed report during the fall.
We need your help to make this happen!