This letter from the Délı̨nę First Nation and Ɂehdzo Got’ı̨nę Gotsę́ Nákedı (Sahtú Renewable Resources Board) to the NWT Minister of Environment and Natural Resources outlines seven points of consensus from the Ɂekwę́ ghǫ Łǝ́nats’edǝ́ - Sahtú Gathering for the Caribou on January 27-29 in Délı̨nę.
The meeting included representatives from the five Sahtú communities, including Renewable Resources Councils, Sahtú Youth Network, and Délı̨nęgot’ı̨nę community; representatives from other jurisdictions included the NWT Wildlife Management Advisory Council, the Inuvialuit Game Council, Kugluktuk Angoniatit Association, Tłı̨chǫ Nation, and Parks Canada. At that meeting, Assistant Deputy Minister Bird provided an overview of the request for feedback on the issues to be considered regarding harvest allocations for the Bluenose East caribou. The following consensus points were presented to Mr. Bird:
- Decisions are needed about how to share the caribou.
- ENR has invited Aboriginal leaders and wildlife management authorities to a teleconference to discuss Bluenose East caribou harvesting allocations on Monday, February 2; there was strong direction that such important matters require an in-person meeting of the parties.
- Timelines for discussions and decisions should not be imposed by the Minister; rather, they need to be agreed upon by the parties. Allocations should be arrived at and implemented for the 2015-2016 harvesting season; it is not feasible to accomplish this for the current harvesting season.
- According to the best available information, the current status of the Bluenose East caribou does not constitute an emergency.
- The health of the caribou depends on the health of the aboriginal peoples, their ability to “Be Dene” (Dene Ts’ı̨lı̨).
- The full range of actions, as presented by the Aboriginal Caucus at the November 28 meeting with the Minister, and as outlined in the Bluenose Caribou Management Plan, is needed to address declining trends.
- Education is needed in the communities to prepare the ground for any decisions that will be made.