North

N.W.T. fur harvesters happy Mounties to keep muskrat hats

Plan to replace fur hats with tuques a 'slap in the face' to aboriginals: Sahtu MLA

CBC News

October 02, 2014

Sahtu MLA Norman Yakeleya says the plan to replace Mounties' fur hats with tuques was a "slap in the face to the aboriginal people, the culture, and to the trappers." (CBC)

N.W.T. fur harvesters are welcoming the recent decision by the federal government that overturns a plan to phase out Mounties' muskrat fur hats and replace them with tuques.

"In the industry you recognize a certain style of hat, it's called the Mountie hat, the Mountie fur hat, and everyone wears them," said Francois Rossouw, who works in fur marketing for the Government of the N.W.T. 

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"Suddenly they want to do away with that, it doesn't make sense." 

Francois Rossouw, who works in fur marketing for the Government of the N.W.T. , says doing away with the Mounties' iconic fur hat doesn't make sense. (CBC)

In early August the RCMP wrote to an animal-rights group to say it would begin phasing out the fur to be replaced by a tuque. But before the tuques were issued, the Federal Conservatives stepped in and over-ruled the decision.

But the plan to get rid of the fur still stings some politicians.

"I thought that was a real slap in the face to the aboriginal people, the culture, and to the trappers of today that make it their way of life," said Norman Yakeleya, MLA for Sahtu.

Trapper Andrew Stanley agrees.

"These hats were harvested from trappers like myself all around Canada," he said.

"Trapping's great for our economy, it's great for the Canadian economy and the Mounties wearing the muskrat hat — I always thought it represented us, represented Canadians as well."

Trappers make about $10 a pelt for muskrats, but Rossouw says it's a dwindling catch in the N.W.T.

"It has declined as everything else has changed in the N.W.T.," he said. "People have moved away from the land."

Rossouw says trappers in the territory used to harvest around 100,000 pelts a season but today it's more like 11,000.

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