This report provides a cross-regional overview of harvester perspectives on barren-ground caribou management, with a focus on Bathurst caribou. The three day Bathurst Caribou Harvesters Gathering on January 29-31, 2013 brought together grassroots Aboriginal elders, harvesters and youth delegated by Aboriginal governments and co-management boards of the NWT, Nunavut and Saskatchewan to share knowledge across cultures and landscapes and make recommendations to decision-makers. The Gathering, attended by approximately 120 people, was structured to reflect a traditional format for dialogue and knowledge sharing that lends itself to a sense of equality among the participants. Identification of key issues served as the basis for focused development of solutions and recommendations.
The Gathering reflected advances in people’s confidence to assert their perspectives and develop concrete recommendations for moving forward. A lot has been learned through the six years of debate since the 2007 Caribou Summit held in Inuvik about approaches in management. All parties have come to recognize the value of working together. The value of the grassroots approach was reaffirmed, and participants repeatedly mentioned their interest in sharing knowledge at similar forums in the future.
Information from the Gathering was collected through audio recording of the proceedings, key messages posted on flip charts, and notes which were taken as close to verbatim as possible. Through consensus the Gathering participants put forward recommendations on six themes:
- Traditional Monitoring and Management Systems
- Traditional Aboriginal Laws about Caribou
- Research Questions
- Research Planning and Follow-Up
- Grassroots Approach
- Next steps