Winter caribou hunting
When the Tomatuk family needs to restock the freezer they do it in the traditional ways. Four generations of family members go out together to hunt winter caribou which are easy to find at that time of year. But as tradition demands, it is the youngest hunter who actually hunts the animal.
Fred Tomatuk says he was taught very young how to support a family off the land.
“Even before I owned my own gun, I was taught how to hang snares, how to be outdoors and to follow the traditional ways. That was the way I was brought up. I was raised to believe that is the way I am supposed to live and the way to support a family.
I enjoy the fact that I provide for my family the way my father and grandfather provided for their families. I have a choice to do this life- the bush life- to be a hunter and a trapper. I also had the choice to get educated so I can work. But this way of life is something to fall back on. It is a back-up plan for when there is no work.
I feel proud to provide for my own family and for the community by sharing the food we hunt. That is what being Cree is all about. Feasting together, sharing with the community.
I was taught to go out in all seasons and to harvest animals with respect to the animal and to the land, according to the Cree rules.”