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THE INUIT of the Arctic Regions Of Canada, Greenland, Russia & Alaska

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Author Topic: THE INUIT of the Arctic Regions Of Canada, Greenland, Russia & Alaska  (Read 8896 times)
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« Reply #90 on: March 20, 2009, 07:41:13 am »

                                        Arctic indigenous people cling to polar bear hunt

March 20, 2009

– Hunting polar bears has been banned since 1973 but the Arctic's indigenous peoples are exempt out of respect for their ancestral traditions, despite scientists' objections over how the quotas are divided.

"When I was a child, it was forbidden to speak our language, to do things like dancing because missionaries said we were worshipping the devils," said Charles Johnson, an Inuit from the small town of Nome, Alaska.

"We need to keep our traditions alive. That includes regaining our language, regaining our culture and polar bear hunting is part of that," he said on the sidelines of a follow-up meeting in the Norwegian town of Tromsoe on a 1973 polar bear conservation agreement.

Signed by the five Arctic states that have polar bears -- Canada, Denmark (Greenland), Norway, Russia and the United States -- the pact bans the hunt except in rare cases.

Article 3 of the agreement stipulates that "any contracting party may allow the taking of polar bears when such taking is carried out ... by local people using traditional methods in the exercise of their traditional rights."

Indigenous people consider the practice essential to their survival even though the bear accounts for only a small part of their diet and despite the fact that the species is under threat from climate change.

In Canada, which is home to two-thirds of the world's polar bears, part of the hunting quotas go to sports hunting by wealthy tourists.

"Subsistence is not just about nutrition. It is also about economic subsistence for the community," said Virginia Poter, the director general of the Canadian Wildlife Service.

A 10-day hunting expedition with a guide can bring in up to 30,000 Canadian dollars (24,400 US dollars, 18,000 euros) to the local population, or 1.87 million Canadian dollars annually.

"And the meat and fat usually remain in the country," she said.

The situation in Alaska is very different, where sports hunting is not allowed.

"There's no money involved, it's all about sharing," said Taqulik Hepa, an Inuit from Barrow in northern Alaska.

"When a polar bear is harvested, an announcement is made in the community and people come to the hunter's house to share the meat. It goes in no time," she said.

Each year, some 700 bears are killed in Canada, Greenland and Alaska out of a total population of 20,000 to 25,000 -- a level that scientists generally deem sustainable.

But a bone of contention is how the quotas are divvied up between different polar bear populations.

In the winter of 2004, authorities in the Canadian territory of Nunavut sharply increased quotas in Baffin Bay located between Canada and Greenland, from 64 to 105 animals.

The decision was based on Inuit accounts of increasingly frequent bear sightings.

"Raising quotas was a mistake," said Canadian polar bear expert Ian Stirling.

"People reported seeing more polar bears and the interpretation was that there were more polar bears. But the truth is that it was probably linked to the melting of sea ice, which forced bears onto land," he told AFP.

Added to the Greenland Inuits' taking of about 100 bears from the same population, the Nunavut decision has endangered the survival of the species in the area, according to scientists who said a sustainable quota to be shared by the two countries was 93.

"The population I'm most concerned about is the one in Baffin Bay," Stirling said.
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« Reply #91 on: May 27, 2009, 07:07:48 am »

                                 Canada's governor shows solidarity with Inuit seal hunt

 Michel Comte
Wed May 27, 2009

– Canada's governor general gutted a seal slaughtered for her during an official Arctic trip and ate
a piece of its heart raw to show solidarity with embattled Inuit seal hunters.

Hundreds of Inuit gathered for a community feast in Rankin Inlet in Nunavut, the first stop on Governor General Michaelle Jean's trip to nine remote northern communities this week as Canada's head of state and representative of Queen Elizabeth II.

Jean knelt over the carcass of a freshly slaughtered seal and used a traditional ulu blade to cut through the flesh and slice off some meat. She then asked one of her hosts: "Could I try the heart?"

Jean said it was "absolutely delicious" and tasted "like sushi," according to images broadcast by CTV.

"And it's very rich in protein," she added.

As she wiped the blood off her fingers with a tissue, Jean explained her support for Canada's traditional Inuit seal hunt and trade, which some fear will be devastated by a European ban on seal products.

The European Parliament recently voted to endorse an EU ban on seal products in protest against commercial hunting methods.

Northern aboriginals are exempt from the ban, but they worry it will inevitably affect their livelihoods too when it takes effect in 2010.

Inuit leader Mary Simon applauded Jean for her support of the hunt.

"Once you destroy a market for one group, it is destroyed for all," Simon said in a statement.

Defense Minister Peter MacKay, who hails from Atlantic Canada, said ahead of a trip to monitor annual Arctic military exercises that he looked forward to some "delicious seal."

"I would encourage all Canadians to try some," he said.

Animal rights groups, however, were critical of Jean for appearing to also support Canada's commercial hunt.

The Canadian government maintains that the 350-year-old commercial hunt is crucial for some 6,000 North Atlantic fishermen who rely on it for up to 35 percent of their total annual income.

Animal rights groups, however, say it is barbaric and have waged an aggressive campaign in recent years to stop the annual hunt.

"I was deeply disappointed," said Rebecca Aldworth of the Humane Society. "I felt that (Jean's) actions were inappropriate given the controversy over commercial seal hunting.

"It's my hope that the governor general will clarify her actions and tell Canadians that her intent truly was to show solidarity with Inuit seal hunters and not with the commercial side of the industry.

"Nobody opposes subsistence hunting by Inuit people. We're opposed to the industrial-scale slaughter of seals," said Aldworth, echoed by Sheryl Fink, spokeswoman for the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

Ottawa authorized the kill of 338,000 seals this year, insisting the hunt does not threaten the species.

But a slump in pelt prices has meant fewer hunters on ice floes off Canada's Atlantic coast. Fewer than 65,000 seals were expected to be killed, generating a mere 7,5 million Canadian dollars (6.4 million US) for sealers, a fisheries spokesman told AFP.
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« Reply #92 on: May 28, 2009, 09:12:23 pm »

                                               Dignitary defends eating raw seal 

                                      Ms Jean helped gut the seal before eating a slice

May 28, 2009

Canada's Governor General Michaelle Jean has strongly defended her decision to eat raw seal heart as a show of support to seal hunters.

She ate the slice of heart on Monday at an Inuit community feast during which a seal was carved up and pieces of it were passed around.

"This activity is part of life... for thousands in the Arctic. It is vital for them," said Ms Jean.

Animal rights groups have criticised her support of a "cruel practice".

Ms Jean used a traditional Inuit knife to help gut the animal, before eating some a festival at Rankin Inlet with hundreds of Inuit.

Her action was praised by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and commercial seal hunters.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2009, 09:14:47 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #93 on: June 01, 2009, 03:19:55 pm »

The census also details where
aboriginal people live


                                              Canadian indigenous numbers soar 


Census figures in Canada show a big increase in the number of Canadians who describe themselves as belonging to one of the country's indigenous peoples.

Data from the 2006 census shows there are now almost 1.2 million aboriginal people - 4% of the population and a 45% rise since the last census in 1996.

The survey also shows that more than half live in or near urban areas.

A record number of indigenous people took part in the 2006 census, but some populous reserves still shunned it.

There are three indigenous groups in Canada: North American Indian or First Nations people; Inuit who live in Canada's far north and Metis, who are descendants of early marriages between native people and European settlers.

The new statistics show a dramatic increase - 45% in 10 years - in those people who identify themselves as belonging to of one of those groups.

The information also reveals that 54% of the country's indigenous people now live in or near cities.

Officials at Statistics Canada, which carried out the census, say the growth and change in demographics can be attributed to a soaring birth rate driven by an unusually young population, and greater pride in aboriginal heritage.

'Not Canadians'

Canada's native peoples have a median age of 27 and almost half are under 25.

The census found that since 1996 there had been some improvement in overcrowded housing conditions in traditional communities.

But one in four people living there report that their homes are dilapidated and in need of significant repairs.

The number of aboriginal peoples refusing to take part in the census has declined, but some are still opposed to the survey.

"We are not Canadian citizens. We are North American Indians," Chief Clarence Simon of Kanesatake, a Mohawk community, was quoted as saying by Canadian media.

His reserve was among 22 not included in the census.

Census officials say that their reach has improved since previous surveys and they have rejected arguments that there has been a significant under-counting of aboriginal people.
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« Reply #94 on: June 01, 2009, 03:22:22 pm »


Canada signs Inuit autonomy plan
06 Dec 07 |  Americas

Native Canadians win hunting case
23 Dec 06 |  Americas
Inuit sue US over climate policy
08 Dec 05 |  Science/Nature

Canada outlines native cash deal
26 Nov 05 |  Americas

Inuit language finds home on net
03 Nov 04 |  Technology


Statistics Canada
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« Reply #95 on: June 01, 2009, 03:23:46 pm »

                                                     Hypocrisy hard to swallow

                     Choose an EU nation and there's almost certainly a bloody stain on its flag

Calgary Sun
31st May 2009

As disgusting as it was to watch, Gov.-Gen. Michaelle Jean's snack of raw-and-bloody seal ventricle was a heart-warming moment for those of us sick and tired of European hypocrisy over Canada's seal hunt.

Any foreign politician slamming Canada's traditional seal harvest as barbaric, while approving the consumption of roast beef and foie gras by the bucketful, is either woefully ignorant or a two-faced fraud looking for votes.

Our heroic Governor General, by eating raw seal heart, did more to support a traditional source of food and income for Canada's northern communities than a thousand angry speeches could ever manage.

Not that the critics will listen.

The European Parliament, which earlier this month voted to ban the import of seal products from Canada, is filled with politicians willing to point fingers, while ignoring the cruelty under their own upturned noses.

Choose a European nation, and there's almost certainly a bloody stain on its flag, often worse than a hunt that's no more barbaric than what takes place in countless European slaughterhouses on a daily basis.

Behold, the hypocrisy of the European Union.

Let's start with France, and that fois gras their gourmands are so proud of, despite the hideous method used to produce it.

The French slurp back more than 19,000 tonnes of what translates to "fat liver" every year -- it's a pasty meat produced by force-feeding birds through a tube until their internal organs are bloated.

Cruel describes what the French do to geese and ducks, but it barely touches the savage blood sports enjoyed by European countries like Spain and Portugal, which also condemn Canada's seal hunt.

There, in front of leering audiences, bullfighting takes place -- if you can consider the slow and sadistic blood-letting of a frightened animal a fight, instead of a slaughter.

Perhaps Canada should hold the seal hunt inside a stadium, call it a sport and sell tickets.

Claiming the kill as a game would be sure to impress EU countries like Ireland, France and Italy, where fun pursuits like fox hunting and hare coursing take place.

In each case, the terrified target animal is chased by dogs, until it caught and torn to pieces.

Canada, take note.

Let dogs run down and rip apart the seals, instead of the traditional swift dispatch with a club: apparently, it's not cruel to kill animals when a pedigreed hound is involved.

Or Canada could call the seal-slaughter a "trophy hunt," thereby getting the Teutonic European countries on side with the fur harvest.

Austria, last year, boasted 1,053,000 animals stalked and shot, including deer, birds and wild boars, while German hunters continue to flock to Canada with rifles and skinning knives, all in the name of recreation.

Bulgaria might be applauded for finally banning dancing bears, but that country's animal cruelty laws are non-existent.

They oppose clubbing seals, but shrug over the brutal abuse of dogs and cats at home.

Greece, at least, ends the suffering of its domestic strays with mass poisoning, or so it's been reported by animal rights activists who've watched cats dying by the dozen.

Great Britain, having banned the fox hunt, is still no utopia of righteousness when it comes to animals.

The Royal Guard, including the soldiers outside of Buckingham Palace, still wear bearskin hats, each requiring the death of a Canadian black bear.

Norway must be mentioned for the annual harpooning of more than a thousand mike whales, which suffer painful and fear-ridden deaths at the end of a barbed spear.

Saving the most gruesome example for last, we have Denmark, a truly rotten place when it comes to cruelty.

Every year, Denmark's Faroe Islanders use motorboats to herd nearly 2,000 dolphins into a shallow bay.

There, hunters wade out and attack the animals with metal hooks, while using knives to skin the still-living dolphins, which thrash about the blood-red bay in dying terror.

Add in the meat-consuming culture which dominates Europe, and what you have is a group of countries soaked in blood and ignorance.

Canada's Governor General won't change a thing by nibbling raw seal heart as a symbol of support, but she will make such sanctimonious hypocrisy a little easier for Canadians to stomach.

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« Reply #96 on: June 01, 2009, 03:25:08 pm »

There's a simple, and scientific, way to determine which animals are hunted and killed:

If it's cute, then leave it alone.

If it's ugly, Bon Appétit.

Seals, dolphins, and bunnies? No.

Cows, pigs, and fish? Yes. 
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