F. Saskatchewan Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge Summary Reports

Source Document: Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge Summary Reports on Woodland Caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou), Boreal Population

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Metadata information

For metadata associated with mapping products found in the following reports, please refer to Annex 2: Metadata Information for Maps in ATK Summary Reports for Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta.

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Boreal Caribou ATK from Big Island First Nation

Introduction

This info collected for Environment Canada titled "Gathering Traditional Ecological Knowledge for Enviroment Canada's National Boreal Caribou Recovery Stategy and Recovery Planning Process" was done by Archie Sundown.

The process taken by the interviewer was first to select the elders and hunters and people who had knowledge of the boreal caribou, with that done, tobacco was purchased to be given to each interviewee before each was to share their thoughts and whatever dealings they had with caribou. In total nine individuals were interviewed over a 15 day period.

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Habitat Use

For the Boreal Caribou the type of plants they rely on are called caribou moss, plankton, twigs. They feed on the same as what moose would eat. As for the features of the land, they prefer to feed and stay in Muskeg and tree covered areas.

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Population Trends

From the response and feedback I get from the interviews, they haven't seen much decline or increase in numbers of caribou in the Northern Part or surrounding areas of the Big Island Lake Cree Territory. As for the survival of calves it's assumed it is the same as there is no strong increase of Caribou being seen around this area. To get to see the caribou at their habitat, one has to travel further up north of the reserve to see them.

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Threats

From talking to people, the most dominant threat to caribou would be the encroachment of roads, land clearing and development of gas wells and thereby driving them up further North. And shorter growing seasons also effects the growth of what they feed on, this probably is due to climate change.

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Habitat Change

The changes is habitat is caused by the presence of Oil & Gas industry, these land clearing and road building has regulated the caribou to search further north for shelter and food.

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Predation

There is an increase both in population of Boreal Caribou and predators reports of seeing more wolves, bears and especially deer are being heard by people that travel those areas and hunt there, abundance of prey such as deer is evident in the high number of vehicle collision with these animals.

There is no certain numbers of Boreal Caribou accounted for on the Big Island Lake Cree Nation, there is the odd one every few years seen in the vicinity but no large herd has ever been seen. As for the people to depend on it for sustenance is very low as people hunt moose and deer for their use. For a person to encounter boreal caribou one has to go further north of the reserve around the bombing range.

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Overharvesting

In our area there is no sign of overharvesting of Boreal Caribou. As for protecting and conserving Boreal Caribou, the elders think the population of Boreal Caribou is at a number where there is no significant difference in increase or decrease in the herd population. As a result of this study, there seems to be no significant impact the caribou has on the people of Big Island Lake. As the people don't rely on caribou as a food source.

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Gathering Traditional Ecological Knowledge for Environment Canada's National Boreal Caribou Recovery Strategy and Recovery Planning Process

I. Introduction

A. Barry Opekokew collected the information with a total of 20 traditional land users and elders from the 3 surrounding communities including Canoe Lake Cree First Nation, Jans Bay, Cole Bay.

B. Questionnaires provided a solid case for identification of sensitive sites and habitat of the Boreal woodland caribou and implementing onto a provided map.

C. Most of the interviews were done in the Cree language and translated by Barry Opekokew into the report.

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II. Mapping Exercise: Winter, summer and calving grounds were identified in 3 primary areas

A. The first one being in the north area of Canoe Lake from parker lake and grubb lake areas extending into the air weapons range all within lowlands and muskegs. This area is protecting itself with limited access, the sighting of a large herd early this year attests to the herd survival skills. The sighting was on the highway 903 around the kilometer 135 mark. There is a significant change at different times because they are easy to harvest right off the road by the traffic from Dillon and local that use the road to go south to meadow lake. The herd is somewhat distinguishable, We would call them the Bombing range herd.

B. Secondly toward the East side of Canoe Lake and north of Amyotte Lake lies a muskeg that is south of the canoe river, this area holds a different herd approximately between Canoe Lake and Ile a la crosse winter snowmobile trail. This herd is vulnerable during the winter because of the use of the snowmobile trail passing through the muskegs. They are distinguishable by being very wild. They would need to be protected further. We can call them the snowmobile trail herd.

C. Thirdly, we have the big muskeg south of the keeley river along the highway 965, this is a area for calving, and both winter and summer grounds, this area the elders call the Durocher lake muskegs herd. They are vulnerable near the road but that past couple decades have seem to push them further in, A very large muskeg with some highlands provide a big territory for this herd.

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III. Habitat Use

Basically in the black spruce and tamarack areas of the muskegs, lots of bog, fens, Labrador tea, and lichens along with willow and alder and white birch. They seem to use the lichen and low muskeg vegetation in the winter and summer months. Always in wet areas in summer, but there are little islands of jack pine that they will occupy in winter.

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IV. Population Trends and Threats

The woodland caribou in all areas of canoe lake have fluctuated but more significantly to low numbers, The elder population interviewed said there was a lot more caribou in the early 70's to earlier times before the roads. They would see caribou from outside the cabins at keeley river. The calves have a hard time to survive now. The basic threat that is immediate is man or man made disturbances such as ski doo trails, roads, logging, even the jets that fly by because we are next to the Primrose Lake Air Weapons Range. The wolves would be the next predators that would be a threat to the calves, and the high snow winters are easier for the wolves to catch a adult caribou(s). People can easily overharvest any given herd at anytime especially in the rut season of August. The climate change is also been different from the times when the elders were younger, a bit of the natural change like forest fires make the change for caribou look elsewhere for food and habitat.

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V. Traditional Practises

The stories told about rules are basically take what you need which was usually one animal per family, but when people were sent out to hunt for 2 or 3 families then a number of around 3 or 4 were harvested for food. Under the old ways of conservation from the elders point of view would maybe help in the conservation and protection of the caribou. The meat of choice is moose meat.

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VI. Concerns and Comments

A. Control the wolves, they seem to be coming closer to the community this year, watch for diseases that we may not know about, they must have or get some diseases, It would be beneficial to the herds if some sort of study or research was done. With proper management we can assist these herds to have a fighting chance to increase. Have this yearly to go in and research the caribou, one that would be beneficial to the government and us local people would be a study of the caribou within the Air Weapons Range. One interview stated there was lots of sign in the south side of the AWR when they were hunting a couple years ago. Lots of access into the habitat is dangerous, it is good they reclaim the roads right after logging but it is in the winter that is open because of atv's and snowmobiles. Maybe different policies for the provincial government that allow reclaimed areas to be less accessible. Of course the air activity in the spring is a major concern from the AWR, the increase in the noise is bad for the calves because they are just born. The northern people harvest every caribou they see that use the highway 903 north. One elder stated that we should try this thing he seen on tv where they monitored the actions of some caribou by radio collars, while another says just leave them alone.

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English River First Nation: English River First Nation, ATK Summary Report

Summary Report

10 people were selected by English River First Nation to do interviews who were mostly elders. The other 3 people were ones who lived off the land. Available person other than Norman Wolverine did 7 elders. The other 3 were done by Norman.

All people interviewed responded very well and were paid […]each. The interviewer Max McIntyre was paid […]. A camera was purchased at […] and travel was involved […].

Everyone that was interviewed strongly suggested that the main reason for less boreal Caribou were forest fires.

And this point, I personally think that traditional knowledge should be strongly used for this purpose, which is the boreal Caribou study.

Let it be known as well that the area we are discussing is only on English River Traditional Territory.

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Mapping Exercise

People that were interviewed showed on the maps where they knew that there were Caribou.

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Habitat Use

Everyone expressed their feelings about forest fires that were let to burn, because the Saskatchewan Government has a let it burn policy that isn’t good for boreal Caribou. Almost all of the Northern part of English River traditional Lands is burnt and therefore the habitat takes many years to come back.

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Population Trends

Most people that were interviewed say that the Caribou are losing their calving areas so they move elsewhere and have their calves, but are harder to find.

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Threats

Forest fires are main threats. Predators will always be there, but it never bothered the population of boreal Caribou.

The other threats would be industry like mining, exploration and tourists in the summer.  Some people that were interviewed expressed their feelings on Métis hunting. They should only take what they need.

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Traditional Practices:

Elders are saying that the Dene from English River First Nation always respected the land and the animals on it. It has been passed on that we take only what we need and we use boreal Caribou for food and the hides for clothing.

Other Concerns and Comments:

Some elders are saying that the new generation will probably not see an abundance of wildlife like there used to be. A new way of life has cause many different things in life. Today people have jobs, they don’t rely on hunting and fishing to much. Hunting is done in a different manner. Boreal Caribou is still part of our diet, along with fish, moose and waterfowl. It is felt that we are losing our way of livelihoood. There are too many changes in the way we do things, like hunting, fishing, and some trapping. Our younger generation seem to have picked up the fast pace of the change and are no to keen on our way of life. Although we teach our young people about  our land and traditional ways of life, they don’t seem to keen on protecting the land. We have some good ideas on boreal caribou protection, but the Saskatchewan Government may think differently, that’s why I keep mentioning traditional knowledge is very important.

Figure 1: English River First Nation, Saskatchewan: Boreal Caribou Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge (March, 2011)
Identifying Areas Used by Boreal Caribou

Map of an area in northern Saskatchewan identifying areas used by boreal caribou by English River First Nation (full description is located below the image).

Description of Figure 1

Map of an area in northern Saskatchewan identifying areas used by boreal caribou by English River First Nation. Multiple numbers are shown throughout the map and will be explained in table 1 below.

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Figure 2: English River First Nation, Saskatchewan: Boreal Caribou Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge (March, 2011)
Identifying Areas Previuosly Used by Boreal Caribou

Map of an area in northern Saskatchewan identifying areas previously used by boreal caribou by English River First Nation (full description is located below the image.

Description of Figure 2

Map of an area in northern Saskatchewan identifying areas previously used by boreal caribou by English River First Nation. Multiple numbers are shown throughout the map and will be explained in table 1 below.

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Figure 3: English River First Nation, Saskatchewan: Boreal Caribou Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge (March, 2011)
Identifying disturbed areas by English River First Nation

Map of an area in northern Saskatchewan identifying disturbed areas by English River First Nation (full description is located below the image).

Description of Figure 3

Map of an area in northern Saskatchewan identifying disturbed areas by English River First Nation. Multiple numbers are shown throughout the map and will be explained in table 1 below.

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Figure 4: English River First Nation, Saskatchewan: Boreal Caribou Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge (March, 2011)
Identifying other areas that used to be good for caribou by English River First Nation

Map of an area in northern Saskatchewan identifying disturbed areas by English River First Nation. Numbers are shown throughout the map will be explained in table 1.

Description of Figure 4

Map of an area in northern Saskatchewan identifying other areas that used to be good for caribou by English River First Nation. Multiple numbers are shown throughout the map and will be explained in table 1 below.

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Table 1: English River First Nation, Saskatchewan: Boreal Caribou ATK Distribution Table
FIDShapeConsult
Name
Con- sult IDTypeSeasonCaribou- UseDis- tur- ba- nceClassCWS RegionDateNotes
0PolygonEnglish River FN1Caribou
Use
----PNR3/28/2011-
1PolygonEnglish River FN2Caribou Previous Use----PNR3/28/2011-
2PolygonEnglish River FN3Caribou
Use
----PNR3/28/2011-
3PolygonEnglish River FN4Caribou Previous Use----PNR3/28/2011-
4PolygonEnglish River FN5Caribou Previous Use----PNR3/28/2011-
5PolygonEnglish River FN6Caribou
Use
----PNR3/28/2011-
6PolygonEnglish River FN7Caribou Previous Use----PNR3/28/2011-
7PolygonEnglish River FN8Caribou
Use
----PNR3/28/2011-
8PolygonEnglish River FN9Caribou
Use
----PNR3/28/2011-
9PolygonEnglish River FN11Caribou Previous Use----PNR3/28/2011-
10PolygonEnglish River FN12Caribou Previous Use----PNR3/28/2011-
11PolygonEnglish River FN13Caribou Previous Use----PNR3/28/2011-
12PolygonEnglish River FN14Caribou Previous Use----PNR3/28/2011-
13PolygonEnglish River FN15Caribou Previous Use----PNR3/28/2011-
14PolygonEnglish River FN16Caribou Previous Use----PNR3/28/2011-
15PolygonEnglish River FN17Distur-bance--F-PNR3/28/2011Caribou around - but mostly burn area
16PolygonEnglish River FN18Caribou
Use
----PNR3/28/2011Lots of woodland caribou - very good but some burn areas
17PolygonEnglish River FN19Caribou
Use
----PNR3/28/2011Caribou around - but mostly burn area
18PolygonEnglish River FN20Caribou
Use
----PNR3/28/2011Caribou around - but mostly burn area
19PolygonEnglish River FN21Caribou
Use
----PNR3/28/2011Lots of woodland caribou - very good but some burn areas
20PolygonEnglish River FN22Caribou
Use
----PNR3/28/2011-
21PolygonEnglish River FN23Caribou
Use
----PNR3/28/2011-
22PolygonEnglish River FN24Caribou
Use
----PNR3/28/2011-
23PolygonEnglish River FN25Caribou
Use
----PNR3/28/2011-
24PolygonEnglish River FN26Caribou
Use
----PNR3/28/2011-
25PolygonEnglish River FN27Caribou
Use
----PNR3/28/2011-
26PolygonEnglish River FN28Caribou Previous Use----PNR3/28/2011-
27PolygonEnglish River FN29Caribou Previous Use----PNR3/28/2011-
28PolygonEnglish River FN30Caribou
Use
----PNR3/28/2011-
29PolygonEnglish River FN31Caribou
Use
----PNR3/28/2011-
30PolygonEnglish River FN32Caribou
Use
----PNR3/28/2011-
31PolygonEnglish River FN33Caribou
Use
----PNR3/28/2011-
32PolygonEnglish River FN34Caribou
Use
----PNR3/28/2011-
33PolygonEnglish River FN35Caribou Previous Use----PNR3/28/2011-
34PolygonEnglish River FN36Caribou
Use
----PNR3/28/2011-
35PolygonEnglish River FN37Caribou
Use
----PNR3/28/2011-
36PolygonEnglish River FN38Caribou Previous Use----PNR3/28/2011-
37PolygonEnglish River FN39Caribou Previous Use----PNR3/28/2011-
38PolygonEnglish River FN40Caribou
Use
----PNR3/28/2011-
39PolygonEnglish River FN41Caribou
Use
----PNR3/28/2011-
40PolygonEnglish River FN42Caribou
Use
----PNR3/28/2011-
41PolygonEnglish River FN43Caribou
Use
----PNR3/28/2011-
42PolygonEnglish River FN44Caribou
Use
----PNR3/28/2011-
43PolygonEnglish River FN45Caribou Previous Use----PNR3/28/2011-
44PolygonEnglish River FN46Caribou
Use
----PNR3/28/2011-
45PolygonEnglish River FN47Caribou Previous Use----PNR3/28/2011-
46PolygonEnglish River FN48Caribou
Use
----PNR3/28/2011-
47PolygonEnglish River FN49Caribou
Use
----PNR3/28/2011-
48PolygonEnglish River FN50Caribou
Use
----PNR3/28/2011-
49PolygonEnglish River FN51Caribou Previous Use----PNR3/28/2011-
50PolygonEnglish River FN52Caribou
Use
----PNR3/28/2011-
51PolygonEnglish River FN53Caribou
Use
----PNR3/28/2011-
52PolygonEnglish River FN54Caribou Previous Use----PNR3/28/2011-
53PolygonEnglish River FN55Caribou
Use
----PNR3/28/2011-
54PolygonEnglish River FN56Caribou
Use
----PNR3/28/2011-
55PolygonEnglish River FN57Caribou
Use
----PNR3/28/2011-
56PolygonEnglish River FN58Caribou
Use
----PNR3/28/2011-
57PolygonEnglish River FN59Caribou
Use
----PNR3/28/2011-
58PolygonEnglish River FN60Caribou
Use
----PNR3/28/2011-
59PolygonEnglish River FN61Caribou
Use
----PNR3/28/2011-
60PolygonEnglish River FN62Distur-bance--F-PNR3/28/2011This area was good for woodland caribou in interviewee's younger years - today most of it is burned
61PolygonEnglish River FN63Caribou
Use
----PNR3/28/2011This area was good for woodland caribou in interviewee's younger years
62PolygonEnglish River FN64Caribou
Use
----PNR3/28/2011This area was good for woodland caribou in interviewee's younger years
63PolygonEnglish River FN65Caribou
Use
----PNR3/28/2011This area was good for woodland caribou in interviewee's younger years
64PolygonEnglish River FN66Distur-bance--F-PNR3/28/2011Burn area
65PolygonEnglish River FN67Distur-bance--F-PNR3/28/2011Burn area - good for hunting (not indicated for which species')
66PolygonEnglish River FN68Caribou
Use
-Calving--PNR3/28/2011Only area today good for calving and hunting (not indicated for hunting which species') - not burned
67PolygonEnglish River FN69Other----PNR3/28/2011This area used to be good for caribou
68PolygonEnglish River FN70Other----PNR3/28/2011This area used to be good for caribou
69PolygonEnglish River FN71Distur-bance--F-PNR3/28/2011Burn area
70PolygonEnglish River FN72Distur-bance--F-PNR3/28/2011Burn area
71PolygonEnglish River FN73Other----PNR3/28/2011This area used to be good for caribou
72PolygonEnglish River FN74Other----PNR3/28/2011This area used to be good for caribou
73PolygonEnglish River FN75Distur-bance--F-PNR3/28/2011Burn area - good for hunting (not indicated for which species')
74PolygonEnglish River FN76Caribou
Use
----PNR3/28/2011Population and hunting area - most of which was better in the past
75PolygonEnglish River FN77Distur-bance--F-PNR3/28/2011Burn area
76PolygonEnglish River FN78Distur-bance--F-PNR3/28/2011Burn area
77PolygonEnglish River FN79Caribou
Use
----PNR3/28/2011Area very rich with caribou
78PolygonEnglish River FN80Caribou Previous Use----PNR3/28/2011Area previously good for caribou and previously hunted for caribou
79PolygonEnglish River FN81Caribou Previous Use----PNR3/28/2011Area previously good for caribou and previously hunted for caribou
80PolygonEnglish River FN82Caribou Previous Use----PNR3/28/2011Area previously good for caribou and previously hunted for caribou
81PolygonEnglish River FN83Caribou Previous Use----PNR3/28/2011Area previously good for caribou and previously hunted for caribou
82PolygonEnglish River FN84Caribou Previous Use----PNR3/28/2011Area previously good for caribou and previously hunted for caribou

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Métis Nation Saskatchewan Acknowledgement

Environment Canada would like to acknowledge Métis Nation Saskatchewan for preparing a summary report with the Aboriginal traditional knowledge shared by Northern Region 1, Northern Region 2, Northern Region 3, Eastern Region 1, Eastern Region 2, Western Region 1 and Western Region 2 to support the development of the national recovery strategy for Woodland caribou, boreal population (boreal caribou). The knowledge shared in their report was used to inform the recovery strategy for boreal caribou but has not been presented in this public compilation report.

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Prince Albert Grand Council Acknowledgement

Environment Canada would like to acknowledge Prince Albert Grand Council for preparing a summary report with the Aboriginal traditional knowledge shared by knowledge holders residing in Stanley Mission, Hall Lake, Southend, Red Earth, Pelican Narrows, La Ronge, Shoal Lake, Grandmothers Bay, Molanosa, Cumberland House, Montreal Lake, Sandy Bay, Sturgeon Landing, Brabant Lake and Fort a La Corne to support the development of the national recovery strategy for Woodland caribou, boreal population (boreal caribou). The knowledge shared in their report was used to inform the recovery strategy for boreal caribou but has not been presented in this public compilation report.

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Prince Albert Grand Council Athabasca Region Acknowledgement

Environment Canada would like to acknowledge Prince Albert Grand Council Athabasca Region for preparing a summary report with the Aboriginal traditional knowledge shared by Fond du Lac First Nation, Black Lake Denesuline First Nation and Hatchet Lake Dene First Nation to support the development of the national recovery strategy for Woodland caribou, boreal population (boreal caribou). The knowledge shared in their report was used to inform the recovery strategy for boreal caribou but has not been presented in this public compilation report.

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