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Atikᵘ Forum in Essipit: First Nations gather to protect the caribou

26 June 2024

On June 4 and 5, Essipit hosted the second edition of the Atikᵘ Forum.This event brought together 19 First Nations and Aboriginal organizations, bringing together nearly 50 participants, including representatives from Natural Resources Canada and Environment and Climate Change Canada.

The main objective of this forum was to create a space for dialogue and sharing The various First Nations were able to share their expertise, experiences and projects concerning Atikᵘ. (Caribou)

Discussions covered a variety of topics such as:

  • Self-determination in the management of Atikᵘ
  • Forest road restoration
  • Atikᵘ health
  • Population monitoring
  •  Caribou dynamics in a context of anthropogenic and natural disturbance of the territory

At the end of these two days of exchanges, the solidarity and determination to safeguard Atikᵘ for future generations was clearly reaffirmed by the communities. Many participants praised the quality of the discussions and expressed their desire to maintain this collaborative dynamic to safeguard this emblematic species.

It's up to us to take action to protect the caribou.

Guy Bellefleur

The solidarity that emanated from these meetings testifies to the deep commitment of First Nations to the protection of Atikᵘ. Despite the Quebec government’s apparent inaction, they remain determined to continue their fight to ensure the survival of this endangered species..

The caribou has helped us a lot, and they are asking us to save them

Jean-Luc Kanapé

We would like to extend our warmest thanks to all the people and organizations who contributed to the success of this event, especially the community of Essipit for its hospitality and Natural Resources Canada for its financial support.
We would also like to thank our presenters and panelists: Éliane Grant – Wildlife Biologist, Cree Nation Government, Guy Bellefleur – Advisor, Innu Nation, Charles-Antoine Lesage – Anthropology Analyst, Huron-Wendat Nation Council, Billy Shecanapish – Environment Coordinator, Naskapi Nation of Kawawachikamach, Andréanne Lord – Environmental Specialist, Lac Simon Anishnabe Nation Council, Kathleen Goulet – Ecosystem Management Advisor, Innu Essipit First Nation Council, Geneviève Degré-Timmons – PhD candidate in forestry science, Université Laval, Wendy Giroux – wildlife biologist and Éric Provost, regional forestry operations manager, Ministère des Ressources Naturelles et des Forêts, as well as Jacinthe Gosselin, biodiversity project manager, and Mélissa Whittom, policy analyst at the FNQLSDI.

About the Atikᵘ Forum

The Atikᵘ Forum is a biennial gathering that brings together First Nations and Aboriginal organizations to discuss challenges and solutions related to Atikᵘ protection and recovery. It is an important opportunity for sharing knowledge and strengthening inter-community collaborations. The first edition took place in June 2022 in Pikogan.