Earlier this month in Cape Breton, hunters killed an albino white moose without realizing the animal’s cultural significance to the Mi’kmaq people, sparking an outrage among First Nations groups and conservationists.
The killing of the rare albino moose first gained national attention when a photo of the slain animal was posted to the Facebook page of Nova Scotia hunting and game shop Hnatiuk’s Hunting & Fishing on Oct. 4. Although the photo has since been deleted, commenters were furious.
The photo showed the hunting crew posed with the moose carcass dangling from the back of a trailer pick-up truck.
While it’s not illegal to kill white moose, assuming it is hunting season and the hunters are licensed, it is purposefully not hunted out of respect for the First Nations people.
The hunters behind the kill say they were not aware of the moose’s cultural significance and say they made a mistake.
Jim Hnatiuks, the owner of the hunting and taxidermy stop and who is currently speaking on behalf of the hunters, said the group is attempting to make things right with the First Nations community.
Acknowledging their misstep, instead of mounting the moose’s head like originally planned, the hunters have returned the hide to the Mi’kmaq people so they can perform a sacred ceremony.
Chief Bob Glogade of the Millbrook First Nation told CTV that the hunters actions “show a willingness to cooperate and show respect to not only the Mi’kmaq people, but also the culture and history.”
In a letter to Hnatiuk’s shop, Glogade continued, “The next step is to bring a peaceful closure and honor the Spirit of the Sacred Moose. The time is to educate people on the Spiritual Significance of this animal and others to ensure that people understand the importance to the Mi’kmaq people so things like this don’t happen.”
According to Mi’kmaq lore, killing the sacred white moose is said to bring bad luck.
Image courtesy of Hnatiuk’s Hunting & Fishing