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For the Labrador Inuit, caribou (and caribou hunting) means everything. What happens when this way of life is banned?

The Ottawa-raised filmmaker examines the issue in the just-released documentary HERD, which features interviews with Inuit elders, youth, hunters and cooks.

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Ines Siwak can succinctly summarize what caribou meant to her when she grew up in Nunatsiavut, the Inuit-claimed borough of northern Labrador.

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“Everything,” Siwak says. “I am connected to my family, friends and the environment in which I live.”

The 45-year-old recalls that caribou and caribou hunting were integral to the life of her family and the culture of her community. She recalls being able to kill her first caribou. She remembers hearing tales of caribou hunting from her father when she was a little girl. She recalls meeting her extended family when they went caribou hunting.

It is estimated that 30 years ago, hundreds of thousands of migratory caribou herds roamed Nunatsiavut.

However, for a variety of reasons, Labrador caribou have declined precipitously.MeIn 2013, the Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Fisheries, Forestry and Agriculture issued a hunting ban to protect endangered animals. According to the state, Labrador’s George River caribou herd plummeted from over 750,000 caribou in the early 1990s to just 27,600 in 2012.

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Although the ban was highly motivated, it deprived Labrador Inuit of a pillar of life, such as Siwak.

That’s why she’s so excited to co-produce the recently released documentary HERD. The documentary features interviews with her people, from elders to youths, hunters and cooks, who describe the relationship between the caribou and the Inuit.

“We are very proud to be a part of this project and that our voices will be recorded and recorded for future generations,” said Siwak, postmaster of Canada Post in Rigoletto, Nunaziabut. says.

The film is directed by Toronto-based Ottawa native David Borish. The 28-year-old, who attended Glebe Collegiate, says the film combines his visual medium with his longstanding interest in social and environmental issues.

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For Borish, who holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Guelph, the film was an integral part of his doctoral studies at Memorial University’s School of Arctic and Sub-Arctic Studies.

In addition to producing the 45-minute film for CBC Gem, work by Borish and Shiwak and colleagues produced a longer cut for the Inuit community and a shortened 15-minute version that Borish plans to submit to an international film festival. .

In total, the film’s production team collected approximately 100 hours of footage, including interviews, archival material, and scene setting clips. Their research, funded by institutions such as the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, is also the basis for several published research papers.

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Borish joined the project in 2016, worked steadily, and graduated with a PhD last year.

He visited Labrador for the first time in 2018 and photographed strictly caribou in a relatively short stay.

“When we went to shoot, the largest group of caribou we found was about 200,” Bolish recalls. “What I saw was incredible and it was just a fraction of what the congregation used to look like.”

Handout photo of the documentary film Herd: Inuit Voices on Caribou. Shows the declining caribou herd in Labrador in 2018. Photo courtesy of David Borish, Courtesy of David Borish.
Handout photo of the documentary film Herd: Inuit Voices on Caribou. Shows the declining caribou herd in Labrador in 2018. Photo courtesy of David Borish, Courtesy of David Borish. jpg

Most of the filming, interviews and data collection took place in the winter of 2019, Borish said.

It was important to Bolish that the project be closely related to the Inuit. “This film is a process of bringing together Inuit and non-Inuit,” he says. “I was directing it from a film and research standpoint, and it was a community-driven Inuit project.”

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The film gains much of its power from the starkness of its imagery and lack of narration. It was Siwakus’ job to set up interviews and ask questions of the film’s participants.

The information shared by interviewees accumulates and grows over the length of the film. Finally, the film highlights the inability to hunt caribou from their place of worship in the Inuit diet, even though other aspects of traditional Inuit life are endangered. It paints a detailed and compelling picture that delves into everything, even the sadness that comes with it.

The film does not explore the causes of caribou decline. “It’s very complex and not fully understood. It’s really a mix of interrelated issues,” says Borish. He says caribou populations naturally cycle, but he also says that a variety of factors, from climate change to human development impacts to disease and parasites, may play a role. .

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Handout photo of the documentary film Herd: Inuit Voices on Caribou. Shows the declining caribou herd in Labrador in 2018. Photo courtesy of David Borish, Courtesy of David Borish.
Handout photo of the documentary film Herd: Inuit Voices on Caribou. Shows the declining caribou herd in Labrador in 2018. Photo courtesy of David Borish, Courtesy of David Borish. jpg

Siwak hopes the film will help viewers understand how important caribou are to the Labrador Inuit and how much they were hurt when their right to hunt caribou was taken away.

She adds: I want the next generation to feel the excitement and freedom of caribou hunting,” she said.

herd
Contents: Documentary on the impact of caribou depletion by the Inuit of Labrador
Available: CBC Gem
Information: www.inuitvoicesherd.com

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For the Labrador Inuit, caribou (and caribou hunting) means everything. What happens when this way of life is banned?

Source link For the Labrador Inuit, caribou (and caribou hunting) means everything. What happens when this way of life is banned?

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