Algonquins of Ontario Harvest
The harvesting of flora and fauna for food and trade has been integral to the Algonquin way of life since time immemorial. These practices embody an inherent respect for the environment and a fundamental commitment to the sustainable management of resources which has been passed from generation to generation.
The Algonquins of Ontario (AOO) are comprised of ten Algonquin communities, including the Algonquins of Pikwàkanagàn First Nation, Antoine, Kijicho Manito Madaouskarini (Bancroft), Bonnechere, Greater Golden Lake, Mattawa/North Bay, Ottawa, Shabot Obaadjiwan, Snimikobi and Whitney and Area.
The rights of Aboriginal people in Canada to engage in traditional activities, including the harvesting of wildlife, fish, migratory birds and plants, is recognized by the Constitution Act, 1982 and upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada. As stewards of our ancestral lands, the AOO recognize the importance of exercising this right in a responsible manner.
In 1991, the Algonquins of Golden Lake (Pikwàkanagàn) took a ground-breaking step with the establishment of its first Hunting Agreement which lead into the development of today’s AOO Harvest Management Plan (HMP) for Algonquin Park and the Wildlife Management Units (WMU) within the Algonquin Territory in Ontario. The HMP is a living document, which is reviewed annually and updated as new information becomes available. Its primary purpose is to clearly articulate the framework in which the Algonquin harvest is conducted by Algonquin harvesters. In particular, the HMP contains clear provisions which specify the season and the geographic locations in which harvesting can occur, what the Sustainable Harvest Target is to be and who is eligible to participate.
Each year, the AOO establishes its Sustainable Harvest Targets for moose and elk for both Algonquin Park and each WMU for the Algonquin Harvest. These Sustainable Harvest Targets are established with input from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) and are based upon data that addresses wildlife conservation and the sustainability of wildlife populations. The AOO is the first Aboriginal group in Canada that has voluntarily enacted these types of harvest management practices.
In order to harvest moose and elk under the auspices of the AOO, eligible Algonquins have agreed to participate in a draw-based tag system that is coordinated by the ten individual AOO communities.
Our tradition of collectively sharing food and resources has been practiced by the Algonquins for millennia. In preservation of this long-held tradition, the sharing of food and resources continues to be commonly practiced today providing meat to Elders and other community members that are unable to participate in the harvest.
1Sustainable Harvest Targets – refer to paragraph 5
2The MNRF calculates these population estimates using the data collected during moose aerial inventories to estimate the total population within a given WMU. For more information by WMU, click here.
For more information about the recreational hunt, click here.