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Lifelines: Canada's East Coast Fisheries

Cross Currents
500 Generations of Aboriginal Fishing 
in Atlantic Canada
A Spring Walrus Hunt in 
the Magdalene Islands
Cross Currents: 
500 Generations of Aboriginal Fishing in Atlantic Canada


The Magdalene Islands were the site of communal walrus hunts each spring for millennia. Prior to European contact, walrus colonies estimated at more than 250,000 populated these islands. Such rookeries, or breeding places, were significant seasonal sources of food and raw materials for aboriginal peoples, providing hides, ivory and oil. So valuable were these resources to aboriginal peoples that they were willing to risk travelling across open seas to hunt the walrus.


Illustration by Frédéric Back
(Source: Claude Villeneuve and Frédéric Back, Le fleuve aux grandes eaux (Les éditions Québec / Amérique inc. - Société Radio-Canada: 1995))



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