Blackford Lake, Northwest Territories, Canada

Too Remote to Vote? NWT Hunters Juggle Priorities

ICTMN Staff
4/13/11

With all the talk of First Nations’ antipathy toward voting in the May 2 election, an entirely different consideration is at play among hunters: The date lands smack in the middle of their spring hunt.

There are no polling places in the far reaches of the Northwest Territories, as CBC News reported on April 12, and aboriginal hunters will be out on the land on election day.

As hunter David Menacho of Tulita, Northwest Territories, told CBC News, his annual April trip by snowmobile to his spring camp more than 30 miles into the wilderness will conflict with the vote, and he knows 30 or so other hunters who have the same problem.

Although advance voter stations are open, they are in communities not easily reachable by residents of more remote towns such as Tulita, and mail-in ballots probably won’t arrive before they depart on their hunting trips.

Residents of Tulita are “concerned that Elections Canada is somewhat culturally insensitive to the aboriginal traditions, culture and practices around this time," NWT legislator Norman Yakeleya told the CBC. "They worry that they won't be able to take part in this democratic process."

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