A traditional hunting snowmobile?
The Innu insist that eating and using caribou is the heart of Innu culture. But hunting with a snowmobile?
"It is you, the whites, who have invented the snowmobile," said Reginald Dominica, an Innu Matimekosh with a long black mustache.
"When my grandfather saw caribou tracks, they would follow them for a week, in snowshoes, before finding the caribou. I would not go back to that! If I was walking in the woods with my snoeshoes and I saw someone pass by snowmobile, I would like one, too."
At 87 years, Ms. Andre is the eldest in the 150 person Innu camp. "I am here to support the hunters but also to share what I know," she said in Innu. Unlike her children and her grandchildren she did not learn French or, like most Quebec Innu, English.) After the first day of hunting, Ms. Andre showed, knife in hand and a Christian cross around her neck, how to butcher a caribou.
"We eat almost everything," she said handing me a piece of raw marrow. "This is good for the brain."
While the Innu are nostalgic for the hunts of yesteryear, today's modern lifestyle draws them away from their culture. "I'm sad, but it there is nothing to do. The only hope is to preserve traditions as long as possible. "
Baloney or caribou?
Besides fried caribou what do the Innu eat during hunting expeditions? From bannock (a kind of bread) to baloney, ham, canned liver pate, white bread Cheez Whiz. To drink: no alcohol (The hunt is recognized as "dry" in respect of the Caribou). But, there is lots of sweet tea.
Right: Real McKenzie, Chief Matimekosh
(Near Schefferville) en route to the camp.
At nightfall, the noise of snowmobiles was replaced by that of generators fueling lights and portable electric equipment.