Farmed caribou will be safe from pollution: Dene man
‘You can hunt all you want but are you going to eat it 20 years down the road?’
A man from the K'atlodeeche First Nation near Hay River, N.W.T. is beginning a plan to farm caribou or reindeer.
Doug Lamalice is a Dene Cultural Advisor for the reserve.
He says the idea isn't meant to replace the hunting and harvesting of the animals.
Rather, he has concerns about animals existing in a polluted environment and the effects that could have on human health.
“When we take those animals and bring them into a controlled environment where the water is controlled, the fluoride is controlled, whatever they have to have that is going into their system that is nothing but healthy,” Lamalice says.
“All of a sudden they're not drinking the river water, they're not drinking the little stream water with all the filth in it. So whatever happens to the world, well all of a sudden, our animals will be safe"
Lamalice says the project will be part of the Northern Farm Training Institute, an experiential school based in Hay River.
He wants to start small, with about 15 animals.
"This isn't going to replace hunting. You can hunt all you want but are you going to eat it 20 years down the road?
"Our elders have always made allowances for what's going to happen on the face of this earth in their little areas. So to me, if we know the caribou are going to be infected and we're not going to be able to eat them anymore, well, this is the only way to do it. To me, that's what has to be done."
Lamalice says he's busy researching similar projects all over the North and the world.
He hopes to have animals and space set aside by next year.