Hunting and Aboriginal Culture

Indigenous cultures around the world have relied on responsible hunting practices to feed, clothe and protect themselves for centuries. Far from the trophy hunting and commercial hunting practiced by immigrant populations, particularly throughout North America and Australia, the hunting culture of aboriginal peoples was based on a more intimate assessment of the relationship between the hunter and the hunted.

 

The destructive potential nature of hunting was also tempered in aboriginal societies by the belief that some animals were deities, and the conviction that the animal supply was limited and prudence was necessary. Proponents of this ideology would have been thrilled to see the release of the Nikon Prostaff 2, one of the most accurate rifle scopes on the market. The Prostaff 2 is one of the best rifle scopes for your money.

Subsistence Hunting

Aboriginal hunting is typically referred to as subsistence hunting by those in the wider culture. This means that the society is dependent upon hunting for the provision of food, shelter, fuel, and clothing, and as well for the preservation of its cultural integrity. Many North American native tribes in the Midwest, particularly the Sioux, are recognized in modern times for their complicated relationship with the bison tribes that roamed the American interior three hundred years ago. Sioux hunters hunted buffalo sparingly, and when a hunt was successful, they used every piece of the animal. Hides were turned into thick fur coats, skins were stretched to become drums, horns became weapons or ceremonial items, and meat was packaged and stored for consumption.

Hunting for subsistence forced hunters to be reasonable with their kill totals — animal populations had to support future generations as well, so over-hunting was a major concern. Commercial hunting changed this viewpoint entirely, and led to the eradication of several species and the overfishing and hunting that is taken for granted today.

Hunting as a Means of Protection

Aboriginal tribes were frequently threatened by predators in all different environments. Tribes in the interior of the country had to worry about wolves, coyotes and foxes, whereas those on the coasts had to concern themselves with snakes, alligators and crocodiles. In order to protect their families, gardens, and domesticated animals, men of the tribe were forced to hunt these predators periodically. Most subsistence hunters used handheld weapons such as boomerangs, bow and arrow, or harpoon, but predator removal teams often resorted to traps, nets and gorges. In accordance with the doctrine of subsistence hunting, these animals were not disposed of but were used — wolf pelts also became jackets, and snakeskin became boots, belts, and cloth.

Hunting as a Means of Cultural Preservation

Many aboriginal peoples view hunting as an escape from modern commercial life. They believe hunting to be the cornerstone of their societies, and this belief is reflected in several colonial-era documents and treaties. For example, in Canada, several first nations societies were granted the right to hunt at will in exchange for ceding lands by treaty. A few of these groups have even attempted to claim the right to dispose of all game within the country’s borders as they see fit. Conflicts over the scope and breadth of the Indian Act continue in Canada today, just as debates about the right of aboriginal peoples to hunt at will continue across the world.

Hunting in modern aboriginal societies is often portrayed as a way to feel some connection to past generations and a different way of life. Although subsistence hunting is falling out of favor among most indigenous groups, hunting as a cultural practice is still as important as it ever was.

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