A Brief History of the Anishinaabe Trapping in the Treaty # 3 Area Quoted by the late Elder Charlie Fisher’s Paper
For the Anishinaabe people, trapping is not simply a satisfying way of livelihood. Trapping is the Anishinaabe way and is foremost a spiritual activity. At its most basic level, it means:
- Giving respect for the land and animals in the Anishinaabe was so that life on the land will be renewed;
- Giving respect for those people who have sacred knowledge of how to trap in a sustainable way based on Anishinaabe teachings and knowledge.
Our Anishinaabe way of trapping is not something that was only valuable in bygone days. It is a way of life that has its own value for our people today. In our sacred way of respect in trapping we followed the practices that are necessary to renew life on the land. This included our sacred spiritual ways. When we trapped a beaver, we put as many as seven parts of it back in the water. When we trapped a muskrat, we put three parts back in the water. This was the way of respect that we followed for all animals.
Our Anishinaabe sacred people never talk about the “management “of “fur bearing resources”. In terms of Anishinaabe people, these animals are better understood as our relatives. Many of them are clan doodems of our people. We have our own ways of speaking about them and relating to them. Our knowledge of our animals is often expressed in the language of our ceremonies. Our knowledge has arisen out of our relationship to our lands and animals.