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Spring Goose Hunt

Its spring hunt time in James Bay Cree country. People are on the land at their camp for annual spring goose hunt.

When the first goose is harvested, the practice is to cook the goose, pray in thankfulness to our ancestors for practicing sustainable goose hunting methods so that we can enjoy this food today.  We pray in thankfulness to the goose spirit for offering its life so that we can survive.  We also pray in thankfulness to all of creation for this gift and that all will have a safe and good hunt.  An offering of a piece of goose meat with all the fixings is put into the fire.  Then we feast.  This practice is done every spring as our ancestors have done in our family.

And it was certainly a safe and good hunt.  The bounty was plentiful.  The geese were shared and everyone has a supply for the year.  We smoked dried some geese called “nah-meh-shtek” and others were kept whole for either roasting for special dinners such as Christmas while others will be boiled with dumplings.  I can’t say which one is my favourite way of cooking.

I come from a traditional family who continue to practice this lifestyle of harvesting from the land when we can get away from our workplaces.  It is difficult living in two worlds but one day I will spend most of my days there at my camp hauling water, splitting firewood and taking in the privilege of receiving gifts in thankfulness…meegwetch Shumindo.

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