Caribou Hunter; A Song Of A Vanished Innu Life – Book Review

I just finished a book called Caribou Hunter; A Song Of A Vanished Innu Life. It was transcribed by Serge Bouchard in 1971 from interviews he had with Mathieu Mestokosho, an Innu who lived his life in northeastern Quebec. The Innu lived in the region from Lac St. Jean to Labrador and have also been known as the Montagnais, the name given to them by the French settlers.

The book is two parts, with the first being an oral history of different experiences, such as caribou hunting trips, and the second being a discussion of the way of life of the natives. There is also a section of photographs of some of the people that shows their way of life.

Part One
– Memories Of Youth
– The Great Caribou Hunts
– A Winter In The Winuakapau Region
– The Abundance Of Caribou Near Atikonak Lake

Part Two
– Reflections On The So-Called Laziness Of Indians
– Daily Life On The Land
– A Word On The Elders, Work In The Old Days, And Tradition

Written as it was spoken, the book describes the life of the native hunter and trapper. Anthropologically, it’s a fascinating account of a culture and lifestyle that isn’t well known. From the persepctive of bushcraft, it’s amazing to read the stories of the hunt and their methods of hunting and trapping.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and it’s one I will highly recommend to our students. Thanks to Kevin Slater for recommending it.

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