We are Caribou is a Canadian folk song that describes the long history of the beautiful animals we call caribou. The early explorers of the Canadian North found them living in abundance along the shores of BC. They ranged far into the forests and even to the very edge of the continental shelves, where they hunted giant herds of caribou. Hunting them became a competition with the Inuit for the best places to hunt.
Traditionally, they made tracks in the snow to hide from their predators and then would slowly make their way towards the coastlines where they could spot the ships coming to explore a new land We are caribou. They could spot a great many ships by the long narrow strips of ice floating on the water. They also frequented isolated mountain villages which were better protected from the marauding tribes. The fur trade brought with it cash that helped with the upkeep of the townspeople and the creation of schools. From this period on, the hunting of caribou became more than a sport. It became a way of life.
The fur trade brought with it gun fire which was an even better medium of spreading the darkness of fear among the natives. The problem with this, of course, was that the caribou took cover in the man-made forest and had no way of seeing the approaching hunters. In the long years before guns were introduced, the only way for the natives to kill a caribou was to use their own weapons.
Among the most popular hunting methods were poison and scalping. Poison was often used but the problem was that as it took time to do significant damage, it was often rendered ineffective. Often, only the head and feet of the animal would be affected while the body remained largely uninfected. Scalping also caused little injury but often ended up killing the whole flock. Unfortunately, many hunters did not realize that the scalpers were also killing the caribou.
As the ice caps increased in volume, the animals’ ability to survive in the sub-Arctic regions was severely limited. At this point, they were forced to find food in other areas. Because of this, arctic birds were becoming scarce and began to become an endangered species. Many believed that at this point, the arctic cats were going to be completely extinct.
Over the last few decades, however, the arctic cats have begun to rebound. They have learned to cope with a changing environment. Various environmental conditions have been found to help the arctic cats adapt by looking to the skies for food. They have also learned to hunt in different ways. While hunting remains a mainstay of their existence, they have also adapted to live in settlements built by humans, using man-made dwellings as their home.