Canada and the States are moving to ban sport hunting of geese in the Atlantic Flyway. The U.S. has gone ahead with the ban for this year’s season. It wasn’t known at press time whether Canada had already done so.

The ban was discussed at the recent Canada Goose Meeting, which took place as part of the Migratory Bird Convention.

Geese that come into the Eastern James Bay Cree Territory are mainly from the Mid-Atlantic Flyway. We also get a few more from the North Atlantic, Tennessee and Mississippi Valley flyways. These are all part of the Atlantic Flyway system. The topic under discussion was the decline of migratory geese using the Atlantic Flyway System. This meeting was a little different from previous meetings.

You might remember a story in the May 12 issue of The Nation about an employee of the Canadian Wildlife Service shoving and pulling the hair of the Chair of the Mushkegowuk Council as she tried to enter the Migratory Bird Convention negotiations.

The bad publicity may be the reason why some Chiefs were invited to the latest meeting on the Convention between the U.S. and Canada.

The Chiefs and other Aboriginal representatives were informed by the Canadian feds that they were there to observe only.

It was the be-quiet-and-watch-us-work attitude on the part of the feds that some representatives complained about. Many Native Nations have felt since this Convention will affect their livelihood and rights, they should be allowed to participate.

The main points affecting geese and the Crees Can be summed up in a few sentences. About 10 or so years ago, there were an estimated 1 million breeding pairs in the eastern side of the James Bay Cree Territory. Today there are only about 300,000. It is like this elsewhere in the Atlantic Flyway system so the U.S. proposed that there be a ban on sport hunters for the U.S. and Canada for at least one year on migratory geese using the Atlantic Flyway System. Subsistence hunting, such as Cree hunters practice, would be allowed. Sport hunters would be allowed to shoot resident geese, but only in certain areas. Resident geese are those that stay in the same area all year.

The recommendation was passed at the Canada Goose Committee Meeting.

Attending for the Grand Council of the Crees was Vice Grand Chief Blacksmith. He missed the first day and didn’t attend the feds’ briefing on how to act appropriately and sit quietly. Blacksmith was anything but quiet and his comments made it into one of the progress reports. Blacksmith blamed the decrease on blatant degradation of the environment The degradation was caused by dams, reservoirs, covering and destroying of nesting sites and food sources, new access roads and the 500 square kilometers of clearcutting each year. Blacksmith, however, welcomed the attitude taken towards allowing subsistence hunting by the Migratory Bird Convention.