Warning: Graphic image is contained in this story below.
The Innu First Nation of Pessamit in northeastern Quebec woke Wednesday to find the bloody remains of several moose hung on the sign at the entrance of their community.
“We don’t know who did it or what state they were in. We can’t presume what their intentions were, but it’s a gesture where someone wants to send a signal to the people of Pessamit,” said André Côté, Pessamit’s director of territory and resources.
The two moose heads and four calves hanging from the Pessamit sign Wednesday morning are believed to part of another gruesome discovery in the forest two days earlier.
Ten slaughtered moose, including six calves in the woods north of nearby Forestville were found on Monday.
Quebec’s Ministry of Fauna and Wilderness is investigating witness accounts that Indigenous hunters may be involved. Photos of the carnage, including unborn calves cut from their mother’s stomach, created an outrage on social media.
“The community is really shocked by the images that have been circulating because it doesn’t correspond to the culture they practice or their values,” said Côté “The Innu council of Pessamit wants to signal that they are not okay with the actions of these individuals in any way and we are collaborating with the ministry of fauna protection in the investigation.”
Côté said it’s too soon to say if either of the acts were by Innu or non-Innu people.
“The people of Pessamit are quite affected by this. It doesn’t correspond to the way they do things and we don’t want people to generalize the whole community based on these facts,” Côté said.
The incidents immediately followed Pessamit’s annual culture week, where the community, located 600 km from Montreal, encourages the sharing of traditional knowledge.
“It’s really too bad that this happens so soon after our cultural week where we had elders showing their culture to people, with beautiful exchanges with regards to food and hide preparation, as well as traditional storytelling,” said Côté.
“Then all of sudden we have this event that’s so unfortunate.”