The Innu First Nations of Essipit and Mashteuiatsh met with representatives of the Independent Highlands and Woodland Caribou Commission on Wednesday in Alma. This meeting was held in private, as the Council specified that the Commission is not the right forum to carry out proper Aboriginal consultations.

Published on May 12, 2022

Source : Patricia Rainville, Le Quotidien

The Council of the Innu First Nation of Essipit and Pekuakamiulnuatsh Takuhikan indicated in a press release that they “participated in good faith in the exercise with the objective of sensitizing and educating the Commissioners on the issues and indigenous rights, ancestral titles and the cultural importance of Atiku (caribou) for their communities.

The communities have already stated that none of the scenarios considered were adequate for the protection of caribou. They also denounce the absence of an native consultation on the subject.

“The brief presented by the representatives of the communities states without ambiguity that the two suggested scenarios are catastrophic for Atiku and the First Nations concerned, in addition to not taking into account the socio-cultural aspects and the importance of the species for biodiversity,” states the council.

Actively involved in the protection of the caribou since the early 2000s, the Essipit and Pekuakamiulnuatsh First Nations filed, on February 24, a request for a declaratory judgment against the Government of Quebec for failure to consult. The two First Nations will continue their actions as long as necessary to guarantee the survival of Atiku and the recognition of their rights.