Tshikapisk Foundation
What others have said about the work of Tshikapisk Foundation
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Petastapineu working on caribou skins at Euinuatsh, Kamestastin. Photo: Susan Connell, SECA Travel
(larger version)
"Innu culture is one of the last vestiges of humanities hunting heritage. Biologically modern humans evolved in the shadow of glacial ice where the late Pleistocene caribou hunters have left us the earliest traces of humanities spiritual odyssey. Innu elders and traditions are a unique library of ecological knowledge and awareness of the spiritual attachment between land and animals and human beings. Their vision and philosophy is an important component of human cultural diversity."

"It is an extraordinary privilege to work with Tshikapisk, to be able to combine my ‘scientific’ knowledge about Labrador prehistory with Innu insight about the land, the caribou, and Innu life, promises to produce a very powerful interpretation of the history and culture of the Innu ancestors."

"It is no exaggeration to state that the Kamestastin region is amongst the most remote and beautiful wilderness regions on the North American mainland"

Dr Stephen Loring
Arctic Studies Center
Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.

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"We are very excited about the unique educational potential of the Foundation’s proposed cultural facility at Kamestastin Lake."

Dr James W. Bradley,
Director
Robert S.Peabody Museum of Archaeology.

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"The experience at Kamestastin was one of my lifetime highlights."

Peter Voll
Peter Voll Associates, Travel Planners
Palo Alto, California

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" Called Kamestastin by the Innu, who for more than 8,000 years have laid claim to this land and measuring 14 miles by eight, it is a massive sheet of cold clear water…it is home to huge trout and exquisitely coloured arctic char. My favourite location was at the lake’s outlet, where it becomes the Kamestastin River that cuts through a steep-sided gorge. Here the arctic char provided unbelievable fights on wet flies or on lures in the countless pools."

John Wilson
Host of Anglia Television’s "Go Fishing" and sport-fishing columnist in "The Express", London U.K.

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"In every part of the world where there are still
viable hunting cultures, they are being forcibly
displaced by powerful political and economic interests
to make way for industrial development.In almost
every case, the consequences are tragic: the loss of
self-reliance and a sense of well-being among the
people themselves, the despoliation of their land, and
the destruction of the knowledge and values that have
allowed them to live on it sustainably for countless
generations.

The Tshikapisk project is perhaps the most heartening
example I have come across, in thirty years of working
with native North Americans, of a hunting people
taking the initiative to provide a positive
alternative to this process.As well as helping to
protect Nitassinan (Labrador Northeastern Quebec)
– one of the most beautiful landscapes on earth –
and ensuring that younger generations of Innu learn the
skills and beliefs necessary to survive and prosper there,
it will also offer non-Innu visitors the opportunity to share the
richness and beauty of the Innu way of life.Having
had this privilege myself – an experience that gave me
some of the most wonderful and extraordinary moments I
can remember – I can only say I envy them!

Tshikapisk is a vitally important venture, both in
providing a less destructive model of economic
development, and in combating the widespread belief
that the loss of cultures like the Innu – with all the terrible human and environmental cost that involves – is somehow ‘inevitable’.I wish it all the success it deserves."

James Wilson

Author of "The Earth Shall Weep: a History of Native
America"
Writer/Consultant: "Savagery and the American Indian"
(BBC2)
Writer/Associate Producer: "The Two Worlds of the Innu"
(BBC2)
Executive member: Survival International

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"Innu history lies in their lands; Innu knowledge of the land and the
creatures that live on it is a vital part of this history; Innu food and
medicine have come from the way they have learned and use their knowledge
when moving on their lands;Innu health has depended, for many centuries,
on maintaining knowledge and land.In the crises of modern history, in the
confusions of the present, Innu health may depend as much as ever on links
with the land.Not in order to hold onto history (though this itself is a
source of health), but because connections with the land give meaning to
everyday life.The crisis of the present is to be seen most clearly in
loss of meaning, in the apparent hopelessness and poverty of spirit that
afflict so many young men and women in Innu society.This crisis must be
addressed - to secure wellbeing, indeed to save lives. The future of the
Innu depends on the way this crisis is understood and met – on the way
meaning is maintained or reintroduced into Innu life.Links with the land
can give meaning, can resist the forces that cause so much despair and
destruction.Links with the land can give purpose and hope to those who
experience the most intense feelings of uselessness and hopelessness.Life
on the land - even if it is occasional, part-time, and ambivalent - can
offer at least some sense ofvalue and self-worth.Without this, the
future is dark indeed; with it, there can be some health, some basis on
which Innu can step forwards in their own, and other, worlds.I have
witnessed again and again, with the Innu as well as with other northern
peoples, the way individuals change when they leave the settlement and go
out onto their lands.No small change, this.But a transformation, a
metamorphosis: the depressed become cheerful, the silent become talkative,
the dour become humorous.Dull eyes become bright; hunched bodies become
full of energy.This is not a piece of mere anecdotal evidence; it is,
rather, a repeated finding - a piece of strong evidence – that shows what
being on the land can achieve, and why every possible opportunity to go out
onto the land may well be a key element in any programme that seeks to
build Innu health and lay the foundation for successful and meaningful
Innu education.Efforts to strengthen Innu connections with their lands
must surely be at the centre of any authentic community, social and even
economic development."

Hugh Brody

Author of "Maps and Dreams", "The People’s Land",
"The Other Side of Eden" and producer and writer of many documentary films.

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" The Tshikapisk Foundation's community-based tourism effort represents the
best use of the term "eco-tourism". The Innu indigenous people have sole control
over their programs and continue their inherent and strict environmental
and conservation ethics for their land. Most importantly, all tourism
dollarsearned will be returned to the local Innu community."

Susan Connell,
SECA Expeditions, Stonington, Connecticut, U.S.A.

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" The Tshikapisk Foundation is an all-too-rare example of a whole people
working together to promote their culture and protect their land.The Innu
live in one of the harshest and yet most beautiful places on earth.They
have suffered more than most from ill-considered interference with both
their lives and their environment.Now they are taking control again of
their own destiny and, through the Kamestastin Project, visitors
can share their extraordinary world, help them in their struggle."

Robin Hanbury –Tenison O.B.E.
President of Survival International, writer, broadcaster,
Gold Medallist of the Royal Geographical Society

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