Caribou hunting trip a learning experience for N.W.T. students, teachers
Large groups of caribou have been hanging out along the Dempster Highway near the N.W.T./Yukon border
By Northwind, CBC News, Oct 25, 2015
If a recent school hunting trip along the Dempster Highway was a learning experience for the students, it was even more so for one of their teachers.
“I don’t think I’ll ever top that experience in terms of being a teacher and having that student-teacher relationship,” said Justin Cormier, a teacher at Chief Julius School in Fort McPherson. “That was one of the best experiences of my life.”
Cormier accompanied elders and other community members on a hunting trip with students along the Dempster Highway last week.
Cormier said the group saw several pockets of caribou, each one with perhaps two or three-hundred animals. Although an experienced hunter in his home in New Brunswick, Cormier had never seen caribou before, let alone hunted one. On this day trip, he saw his students hunt and dress the animals.
“The best learning in a classroom often happens when the students teach you things,” he said.
“I kept telling people that I was taking the students onto the land, but really they took me out on to the land and they were showing me the ropes.”
Cormier also absorbed lessons from the elders alongside his students.
“I seen some of the kids pushing the snow over the blood and — something that I didn’t know — but, apparently that shows respect for the animal,” he said.
Cassandra Francis, one of the students on the hunting trip, was just as enthusiastic as Cormier about her own experience.
“There was lots and lots of herds, like many, many herds of caribou all over.”
She said she learned what kind of caribou to shoot and which ones not to, as well as how to gut and skin a caribou.
Francis said she’d like to go hunting again.