The ecocide chronicle: the eradication of the Val-d’Or caribou

Henry JacobEditions L’Esprit free

In 1984, 50 caribou lived in the wild in an area of ​​1,200 km² south of Val d’Or. In 2022, nine caribou are confined in a 12 km² concentration pen.

During those four decades, I raised the alarm, participated in many discussion groups and various committees to try to change the situation, hoping that our leaders would understand our responsibilities to future generations.
Because I think it is our duty to protect and pass on this ecological jewel, the relic herd of Val-d’Or. It is unique: it is the only one left south of the 48th parallel and differs from the Charlevoix herd,
this is the result of reintroduction.

Despite this decline, which has been heralded by environmentalists and Anicinapek since the 1980s,
the department responsible for the forests deliberately violated its own rules regarding the endangered species of the Val d’Or herd.
His actions, contrary to his reassuring speech, accelerated the destruction of the herd’s critical habitat, bringing it to the brink of extinction.

I begin this little book—chronicle, pamphlet, and essay—by quoting its conclusion, for it is as lucid and lucid as any other. The ecocide chronicle: the eradication of the Val-d’Or caribou “, it can also be called ” The journey of a tireless warrior ecologist “where” A portrait of the introduction of ministers and officials to the forest industry “.

Henri Jacob is the founder of REVE – an environmental group in Val-d’Or and the surrounding area, and a friend of Action Boréale with Richard Desjardins. When I told him at our first meeting in Val-d’Or that if you could have seen his face, I grew up in the rue Rimouski…Henri-Jacob! So Henry Jacob is a friend, but above all I admire his career as a militant environmental activist with a focus on forests and caribou.

Henri Jacob’s constant commitment is linked here to the sad story of Quebec’s southernmost caribou herd, which has grown from 60 in 1974 to 80 in 2022 and 9 in 2022. the agreements and promises remained on paper, the caribou living in the Val-d’Or forest continued to decline due to the huge appetite and the extractivist logic of industry. Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife. But haven’t there been many studies done by the department’s own biologists that have recommended, one after another, changes in the way things are done to save the caribou? Yes, but always talk, these recommendations quickly found their way to dusty tables – with sawdust – from the ministry. It is the credo of the pseudo-threat of the forest industry, of jobs that are still and always at risk, if we dare to mention the protection of a few areas. A better controlled management of logging, as if inspired by the culture and holistic philosophy of First Nations — Together we shape the terrain; we are the people, the fauna and flora, the territory — could not establish itself, at least in areas of old conifers, for the survival of the species.

The ecocide chronicle: the eradication of the Val-d’Or caribou presents the saga, the battle, educational events in schools – scolded by the Domtar administrator, with amazement – in simple, anecdotal and sometimes ironic writing. It is a militant journey of a person, friends and colleagues that needs to be recognized, shared and supported. Plus, the book is enriched with gorgeous illustrations by Olivier Lasser and a foreword by storyteller and former Pikogan Anicinabek community leader, former Grand Chief of the Algonquin Council of Quebec, and residential school survivor Elder Richard Kitabish. -Marc-de-Figuéry.

We Anikinabeks lived with these addicts [1].
They invaded and occupied the same territory as we did.
They have been our companions in sharing this space.
They knew we depended on them and so did we.

We are always amazed at the tenacity of this white man!
He is from a race of people who lived in this area, this magnificent area.
It will always remain and its spirit will be part of the decor. His friends will respect him. »

– Richard Kitabish

At the end of these eternal dances, two steps forward and four steps back, and this hodgepodge bonriens – Hello to Henry’s friend! — here we are at the end of 2022, in Montreal hosting the Conference on Biological Diversity — Cop15. In front of their international guests, government representatives with wall-to-wall economic savvy will smile their beautiful big white teeth, sweep their dismal record for caribou conservation under the rug, and try to make people forget about it. just over two months ago, they remained silent, as usual, in the face of the Independent Commission on Woodland and Mountain Caribou, which reiterated the importance of protecting large tracts of forest. the survival of relict herds of this great deer.

Shall we say without running? So long, caribou “? In this post-holiday season, I’m reminded of the image of Santa having to pull his sleigh alone…until he hitches it to one or two F-150s sporting their doors…the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife logo…

[1] CaribouIn Anishinaabemowin language

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