An Ancient Bond with the Land

Communal Hunters

For thousands of years, the First Peoples of the Plains and the Subarctic lived mainly by hunting large herd animals. The bison of the Plains and the caribou herds of the Subarctic forests provided for most human needs. First Peoples practised various methods of communal hunting, organizing members of the community to cooperate in planning the hunt. Today the relationship between First Peoples of the Plains and the bison is largely symbolic and spiritual, since the great herds of the past are gone. But in the Subarctic, First Peoples still hunt and rely on the caribou.

Tablet - Drawing: Susan Laurie-Bourque
Etchings on this catlinite tablet from Saskatchewan depict a tipi, a human figure, three bison, a possible bison pound, and zigzag lines that could be distant hills or drive lanes leading to the pound.
Drawing: Susan Laurie-Bourque
© Canadian Museum of Civilization

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Landscape photograph:
Richard Morlan, Canadian Museum of Civilization