A Traditional Moose Hunt Camp was run by The Temiskaming Native Women’s Support Group (TNWSG) near Matachewan First Nation in Northeastern Ontario October 4 to 6, 2019.
The event brought together First Nation hunters, Elders and families from the First Nations of Matachewan, Beaverhouse, members of the Metis Nation and invited guests. They came together for the event with community members and their families as part of a three-day hunt camp dedicated to sharing the teachings of Elders involving traditional moose harvesting on the land.
Community volunteers including Matachewan FN Chief Jason Batisse, local First Nation Councillors and hunters gathered at a central camp dotted with expertly erected canvas tents to bring together people in cooking, harvesting and socializing environments.
“This was the first time ever that we have run the Traditional Moose Hunt Camp and it has been such a success that already we are looking at partnering with Matachewan First Nation and other possible sponsors to make this an annual event. My thanks to all of our members of the TNWSG that worked so hard to make this happen. We are also grateful to Chief Batisse, his son Anthony and wife Samantha for all of their help and for harvesting a moose,” commented Anne Batisse, Executive Director, TNWSG.
Melissa Gill of the TNWSG assisted with the organizing of the event with help from many volunteers and the Chief and Council of Matachewan FN.
“I want to thank our leadership and Elders for having the vision to establish our first ever Traditional Moose Hunt Camp. It takes a lot of expertise, skill and knowledge to set up and run a hunt camp like this, that is based on respect for the land and sharing the tradition and culture related to moose harvesting,” said Gill.
The event featured teachings and demonstrations in respect for the hunt, setting up camp, preparing for the hunt, tracking the moose, moose calling, harvesting a moose and skinning and butchering the animal. Elder Mario Batisse, Matachewan FN who is also a traditional hunter, with help from Chief Jason Batisse and William Edwards, a traditional Cree Elder and hunter originally from Fort Albany, led everyone in hands on participation in skinning the moose and butchering it to be shared.