The COVID-19 pandemic is hard on everyone. People are out of work and uncertainty is running rampant. The bright side of everything going on is seeing people come together and helping each other through these dark times.
Because of the pandemic hunters from the James Smith Cree Nation, located in northern Saskatchewan knew they needed to provide food for the community. They took up a collection in order to buy ammunition so hunters could harvest meat for everyone.
“We ended up raising $530,” Tanya Sanderson said. “And after that more donations came rolling in.”
The people initially purchased 11 boxes of shells and distributed 10 per hunter with the stipulation that any game harvested with them would go to the community. “
Sanderson said that she and her husband made a list of families that wanted wild meat. About 40 families have signed up. So far eight families, or roughly 20 to 25 people, have received meat.
“Our main priority are for those on social assistance because we are in a position where we don’t need it, but others do.”
Hunters have responded by harvesting moose, deer, and small game.
“We have donated about 600 pounds of meat to our community hall.” said hunter Richard Brittain Jr. “They’re saving it just in case the pandemic gets worse. If problems come to where our people have to get relocated and have to come home, then we have food.”
He said that the wild game that they bring back connects them to the land and the animals.
“It helps us fight sickness. It goes into our DNA, the bloodlines of who we are as Indigenous people,” he said.
“When us First Nations people consume and eat that wild meat, we’re also extracting and consuming that medicine that the animals have gathered and they ate.”
It is great to see people coming together and using hunting to meet a need. I know this is not possible for most of the people not living in subsistence hunting areas, but the principle still rings true for all mankind.
We should help others in whatever way we can and look out for those that can not provide for themselves.
Keep strong everyone and we will make it through this difficult time.