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For the Labrador Inuit, caribou (and caribou hunting) means everything. What if this way of life suddenly disappeared?

The Ottawa-raised filmmaker explores the issue in her just-released documentary HERD, which features interviews with Inuit elders, youth, hunters and cooks. I am considering.

Handout photo for the documentary film Herd: Inuit Voices on Caribou. From left to right: Inuit knowledge holder Henry Lyall from Nain, Nunatsiavut, Inuit drone operator Eldred Allen from Rigolet, Nunatsiavut, and filmmaker David Borish filming caribou in Northern Labrador in 2018.
Handout photo of documentary film Herd: Inuit Voices on Caribou. Left to right: Inuit knowledge holders Henry Lyall Nine, Nunaziabt, Inuit drone operator Rigoletto, Eldred Allen of Nunazivut, filmmaker David Borish Photographing Caribou Northern Labrador in 2018. jpg

Ines Siwak wondered what caribou meant to her when she grew up in Nunaziabt, an Inuit-claimed borough of northern Labrador. can be summarized succinctly.

"Everything," Siwak says. "It connects with family, friends, and the environment in which I live."

The 45-year-old says how integral caribou and caribou hunting are to her family's life and the culture of her community. I remember what it was like. She recalls being able to kill her first caribou. She remembers hearing stories of her caribou hunting when her father was young. She recalls meeting her extended family when they went caribou hunting.

It is estimated that 30 years ago, hundreds of thousands of migratory caribou herds roamed Nunatsiavut.

However, for a variety of reasons, Labrador caribou have declined precipitously.In 2013, the Department of Fisheries, Forestry and Agriculture in Newfoundland and Labrador issued a hunting ban to protect endangered animals. George River, Labrador His caribou herd has plummeted from over 750,000 in the early 1990s to just 27,600 in 2012, the state notes.

Just as there was a ban, it deprived the Inuit life pillar of Labrador like Siwak.

That is why it is called HERD She is thrilled to be a co-producer of her recently released documentary. In this documentary, her connection to the caribou is explained through interviews with her people, from elders to youngsters, hunters and cooks. and Inuit.

"We are very proud to have been part of this project and to know that our voices will be heard and recorded for future generations," said Nunaziavt. Siwak, who is also the postmaster of Canada Post in Rigoletto, says.

The film is directed by Toronto-based Ottawa native David Borish. The 28-year-old, who attended Glebe Collegiate, says the film combines his visual medium with his longstanding interest in social and environmental issues.

For Borish, a BA from the University of Guelph, the film was an integral part of his doctoral studies at Memorial University's School of Arctic and Sub-Arctic Studies.

In addition to producing his 45-minute film for CBC Gem, work by Borish, Shiwak, and their colleagues included longer cuts for his Inuit community and Borish's submissions to international film. I made a shortened 15 minute version of what he plans to do. festival.

In total, the team that produced the film collected approximately 100 hours of footage, including interviews, archival material, and scene-setting clips. Their research, funded by institutions such as the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, is also the basis for several published research papers.

Borish joined the project in his 2016 and worked steadily, graduating last year with a PhD.

He visited Labrador for the first time in his 2018, photographing strictly caribou in a relatively short stay.

"When we went to shoot, the largest group of caribou we found was about 200," Bolish recalls. "What I saw was incredible, and it was just a fraction of what the congregation used to look like."

Handout photo for the documentary film Herd: Inuit Voices on Caribou, showing the dwindling herd of caribou in Labrador in 2018. Photo by David Borish, supplied by David Borish.
Handout photo from documentary film Herd: Inuit Voices on Caribou Declining caribou herd in Labrador in 2018. Photo by David Borish, courtesy of David Borish. jpg

The bulk of the filming, interviews and data collection took place during the winter of 2019, Borish says.

It was very important to Bolish that the project be closely related to the Inuit. "This film is a process of bringing together Inuit and non-Inuit," he says. "I was directing it from a film and research standpoint, and it was a community-driven Inuit project."

It gets a lot of power from the lack of narration. The documentary simply shows people talking about different aspects of their lives, both during and after caribou hunting. It was the job of

Information shared by interviewees accumulates and grows over the length of the film. Finally, the film highlights the inability to hunt caribou from their place of worship in the Inuit diet, even though other aspects of traditional Inuit life are endangered.

The film does not explore the causes of caribou decline. "It's very complex and not fully understood. It's really a mix of interrelated issues," says Borish. He says caribou populations naturally cycle, but he also says that a variety of factors, from climate change to human development impacts to disease and parasites, may play a role. .

Handout photo for the documentary film Herd: Inuit Voices on Caribou, showing the dwindling herd of caribou in Labrador in 2018. Photo by David Borish, supplied by David Borish.
Handout photo of documentary film Herd: Caribou Inuit voices. Shows the declining caribou herd in Labrador in 2018. Photo courtesy of David Borish, Courtesy of David Borish. jpg

Siwak showed viewers how important caribou were to the Labrador Inuit and how much they would be hurt when given the right to hunt them. I hope you will see the movie and understand. I was taken away.

She adds: She wants the next generation to feel the excitement and freedom of caribou hunting," she said.

Content: Labrador Inuit and Caribou Decline Impact
Available: CBC Gem
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