Ɂehdzo Got’ı̨nę Gots’ę́ Nákedı
Sahtú Renewable Resources Board

Barren-Ground Caribou

  • The Sahtú Ɂekwę́ and Harvesting Workshop was held at the Délı̨nę Cultural Centre, January 27-29, 2015. The Workshop was jointly hosted by the Ɂehdzo Got’ı̨nę Gots’ę́ Nákedı (Sahtú Renewable Resources Board) and the Délı̨nę First Nation. Over 40 delegates representing community organizations as well as regional and territorial levels of government were invited from four land claim areas.

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  • The three day Bathurst Caribou Harvesters Gathering in Behchokǫ̀ and Yellowknife on January 29-31, 2013 was planned as an opportunity for Aboriginal people who depend on the Bathurst caribou to meet and share their wisdom and experiences in addressing management issues.

    Grassroots Aboriginal elders, harvesters and youth delegated by Aboriginal governments and co-management boards of the NWT, Nunavut and Saskatchewan were invited to share knowledge across cultures and landscapes and make recommendations to decision-makers. Délı̨nęgot'ı̨nę delegates attended from the Sahtú Regıon, since Bathurst caribou travel through their traditional territory.

    The Gathering, co-hosted by the Tłı̨chǫ Government and Wek’èezhìi Renewable Resources Board and 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 had been learned through the six years of debate since the 2007 Caribou Summit held in Inuvik about approaches in management. All parties had 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.

    Commitments were made by participants to bring the results of the Gathering back to communities and sponsoring organizations with the view to acquiring support for the recommendations. Timely follow-up on an inter-regional process will support those who are dependent on caribou to renew their traditional role in taking care of the caribou.

    Update

    A Bathurst Caribou Working Group involving representatives of governments, wildlife co-management boards and Aboriginal groups who have management authority or traditional harvesting rights to the Bathurst caribou herd was established following the Bathurst Gathering. The Working Group met in October 2013 and February 2014 to discuss what management processes for the Bathurst herd should look like.

    All the organizations represented at the February 2014 workshop supported forming a management body for the Bathurst caribou herd. They also supported the mandate that was developed at the October 2013 workshop. A draft Terms of Reference has been developed for the new management body. Another meeting of the Working Group needs to be held to confirm support for the new management body and Terms of Reference.

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  • One of the top priorities identified by at the 2007 Caribou Summit was the need for an updated Management Plan. In 2008, the Advisory Committee for Cooperation on Wildlife Management (ACCWM) decided to develop a plan for the Cape Bathurst, Bluenose-West, and Bluenose-East barren-ground caribou herds to address management issues over the long term. Between 2007 and 2013, meetings to gather information for the Management Plan were held in Colville Lake, Fort Good Hope, Norman Wells, Tulít’a, and Délı̨nę, as well as communities in other regions that the Bluenose West caribou travel through: the Inuvialuit Settlement Region, Gwich’in Settlement Area, Wek’ èezhı̀i (Tłı̨chǫ Region), Dehcho Region, and Kitikmeot Region.

    The Management Plan was drafted using community input received during three main ‘Rounds’ of engagement. Each member/Board represented at the Working Group decided how the meetings and engagement would take place in their region, and so the process differed somewhat from region to region. In the Sahtú Region, the engagement was led by NWT Environment and Natural Resources (ENR).

    The Bluenose Caribou Management Plan was approved by the ACCWM and submitted to the Minister in November 2014. Two companion documents support the Management Plan. One is a Technical Report produced by ENR that contains the most current scientific information on the herds and their status. The other is a report called “We have been living with the caribou all our lives...”. It contains information documented during the community engagements in all the regions. A compilation of Sahtú information from this report is provided below.

    A lot of information was documented during community engagement in the Sahtú Region. The Ɂehdzo Got’ı̨nę Gotsę́ Nákedı has extracted the Sahtú sections of the Community Engagement report as a separate document for easy reference.

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  • Spurred by growing evidence that NWT barren-ground caribou populations were in sharp decline, the Government of the NWT organized the first ever NWT Barren-ground Caribou Summit. Representatives from every region, Aboriginal governments, caribou management boards, renewable resource and co-management boards, outfitters, environmental organizations, the oil and gas and mining industries came together to identify priorities for action over the next four years to help caribou herds recover. On January 23 to 26, 2007, over 180 delegates came together in Inuvik at the Midnight Sun Conference Centre and the Inuvik Curling Club to address this challenge. 

    The four major themes of the Caribou Forever – Our Heritage, Our Responsibility: Barren-ground Caribou Management Strategy for the Northwest Territories 2006-2010 provided the basis for a series of background presentations to provide information for discussions during breakout group sessions. The themes were: Information for Management; Engaging Partners; Managing Human Impacts; and Addressing Hardships. 

    Questions regarding possible actions and strategies were posed for the breakout groups to consider. Participants were encouraged to bring forward their own ideas for solutions. Results from each breakout group were presented to plenary sessions, enabling everyone to hear the full spectrum of concerns and perspectives from across the north. Delegates concluded the Summit by selecting priorities from each of the theme areas.

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  • In 2006, the Northwest Territories Department of Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) reported that, in their view, the Bluenose West caribou herd had declined significantly and that urgent management actions were required. ENR requested that a Total Allowable Harvest be considered. This triggered a requirement under the Sahtú Dene and Métis Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement that “a public hearing shall be held” (13.8.21[b]).

    The Board convened a public hearing in Fort Good Hope on November 21-23, 2007. Ɂehdzo Got’ı̨nę (Renewable Resource Councils), First Nations, Elders, and ENR provided presentations and were given opportunities to question other presenters and comment. The proceedings were transcribed, and a hearing report was prepared that included Board recommendations. These recommendations were to be reviewed following the planned photo census in 2009.

    Update

    Recommendations from the 2007 hearing were not implemented for various reasons. As a result, the Board did not review the recommendations in 2009. Instead, a management planning process was initiated by the Advisory Committee for Cooperation on Wildlife Management (ACCWM) [HYPERLINK], including extensive community engagement in 2009 and 2011. The pdf Bluenose Caribou Management Plan (1.97 MB)  was submitted to the Minister in November 2014, and Action Planning for the three Bluenose herds began early in 2015.

    According to ENR,  the Bluenose West population was about 112,000 in 1992. During 2005-2012, ENR estimates show the Bluenose West caribou population hovering between 18,000 and 20,800.

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