Brandon Maloney
This white moose, considered a spiritual being among the Mi'kmaq, was gunned down by hunters in Nova Scotia on October 3. Millbrook First Nation member Brandon Maloney, happening upon the hunters as they were driving away with their prize, snapped this photo to bear witness.

Hunters Slaughter Sacred White Moose; Mi’kmaq Outraged, Mourning

Martha Troian

The white moose had wandered the woods near Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, for years, sacred to the Mi’kmaq and thus undisturbed.

But when a handful of non-indigenous hunters came along last week, their first instinct was to kill it. They not only slaughtered the precious animal, but also posed gleefully for photos, which they posted immediately on Facebook and other social media sites.

Brandon Maloney saw the shocking spectacle as he stepped out for coffee on the Millbrook First Nation, near Truro, Nova Scotia. The hunters were parked outside, the moose heaped in the back of their truck. He approached the three men, who confirmed they had shot and killed the white moose.

“I’m a big moose hunter myself,” said Maloney, who is from nearby Indian Brook First Nation, a Mi'kmaq community. “But I don't think they realized the seriousness of this.”

He gathered what words he could.

“I said, ‘We don't shoot them,’ ” he told Indian Country Today Media Network.

The hunters told Maloney that the moose had been easy to take down, that they’d shot it in the Belle Cote mountain range on the western side of the Cape Breton Highlands. Maloney's stomach turned yet again as they said that even the moose’s hooves were white. He snapped a photo to bear witness.

“Here they are sitting on a Native reserve with a white moose at the back of their truck at Tim Horton’s, showing off,” Maloney said. “They were all happy and excited at first, they were bragging.”

The sacredness of a white moose can only be compared to that of a white bison.

RELATED: White Buffalo Calf Named Yellow Medicine Dancing Boy Amid Fire, Water and Thunder

The wanton killing and skinning of a white buffalo calf in Texas last year, and the subsequent death of its mother, tore through Native and non-Native hearts in Indian country.

RELATED: More Details of Sacred White Calf Slaughter, Locals Push for Hate Crime Status

Similarly, the white moose is only rarely seen by the Mi'kmaq people, and it is off-limits to Mi’kmaq hunters. But no one has to tell them that.

“A moose like that represents the highest quality of a Native person,” said Emmett Peters, a Mi’kmaq Elder who lives in Afton, Nova Scotia, though is originally from Prince Edward Island. “Every time I see something like that [moose] it reminds me of integrity, courage, everything great in a leader.”

When hard times are coming, these white-spirited animals will appear. Peters was quick to mention the dispute taking place in New Brunswick over shale gas testing between indigenous people, the provincial government and SWN Resources Canada, the oil and gas company that is conducting the tests. The dispute has been intensifying since early summer, with a group called the Mi'kmaq Warrior Society blockading Route 134 near Rexton, in Kent Country, New Brunswick.

RELATED: First Nation Moves to Evict Fracking Co. From Lands Held in Trust

Peter MacDonald is a mammal biologist with the wildlife branch of the Department of Natural Resources of Nova Scotia. After viewing the photos, he confirmed the animal was indeed either albino or leucistic (lacking in the pigment melanin). Albinism is caused by a recessive trait, and such animals are very rare.

Shooting a white moose is not illegal, according to Nova Scotia hunting regulations. But killing such a creature is unfathomable to the Mi’kmaq, and they have always steered clear of this spiritual being, said Mi'kmaq hunter Danny Paul.

"We know the significance and we've been teaching that to the non-Native population for almost 500 years—about the importance that this and other white animals played in our lives," Paul told CBC News. "We are not to harm them in any way, shape, or form because they could be one of our ancestors coming to remind us of something significant that's going to happen within our communities."

The posting of photos of the dead moose on the Internet sparked even more anger. After a Nova Scotia shop, Hnatiuk's Hunting & Fishing Ltd., displayed several pictures of the moose with the hunters by its side on the store’s Facebook page, the image was shared more than 1,000 times. But the majority of comments reflected people’s shock, grief and disapproval.

"It was so disrespectful having seen it put on the social media, and it's been an outcry,” Paul told CBC News. “Our people are outraged."

After word got out about the moose’s death, Millbrook First Nation Chief Bob Gloade posted a comment on the Facebook page of Hnatiuk’s Hunting & Fishing Ltd., reaching out to the owners, and later spoke to them by phone.

“The White Moose killed is unacceptable to the Mi'kmaq people and brings bad luck to the hunter(s) who killed that animal,” Gloade wrote. “To do the proper thing the hide of the animal requires a special ceremony to prevent bad luck and harm to the Hunters. Many Mi'kmaq people are disturbed by the actions of hunters who most likely don't understand our culture. We must protect what is sacred and do the right thing to protect the land and life on it.”

The hunters and the shop owners, now informed of the moose’s significance, are working with Gloade to bring spiritual closure. They are handing over the moose hide to the Mi’kmaq, who will conduct a ceremony to honor the animal.

“Hnatiuk's would like to thank DNR and Chief Bob Gloade for calling us today,” one of the owners posted on the shop’s Facebook page on October 7. “Chief Bob was able to share the significance of the spirit moose with me and some of the ways in which our business and the hunters could help to bring peaceful closure. The hunters have been very cooperative, and we at Hnatiuk's are seeing that the hide is prepared asap (as requested) in order for it to be ready for the Mi'kmaq ceremonies.”

Gloade expressed his thanks and said Peters would conduct the ceremony. Above all, Gloade and others said, this should be viewed as an opportunity to educate people as well as pay tribute to the moose’s sacrifice.

“The next step is to bring a peaceful closure and honor the Spirit of the Sacred Moose,” Gloade wrote on his own Facebook page. “The time is to educate people on the Spiritual Significance of this animal and others to ensure that people understand the importance to the Mi'kmaq people so things like this don't happen.”

RELATED: Grieving Mi'kmaq Begin Four-Day Ceremony for White Moose Gunned Down by Trophy Hunters

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Michael Madrid's picture
Michael Madrid
Submitted by Michael Madrid on
At least the hunters were cooperative and tried to make amends, but this is a sad story nevertheless. I used to hunt deer and elk here in New Mexico, but it has gotten too dangerous. There are too many idiots with guns in the wilderness during hunting season and most of them have absolutely NO RESPECT for the area, for their prey and for other humans around them. Since I was young hunting has contributed to my diet. We were poor and hunting provided the meat that my family couldn't afford. We were ALWAYS taught to thank the animal for its sacrifice and we were taught to leave our campground CLEANER than we had found it. People who hunt for sport are little different than all the beaver trappers and buffalo hunters that killed vast numbers of animals for sport or money in the early years of our country. I've always drawn a parallel between the Whites tendency to wipe out great numbers of an animal species, to the way White have treated the Indians all these years. What they (the Muricans) don't like, they wipe out.

Niecie's picture
Submitted by Niecie on
How much more can the ignorant white man get. They are so stupid and they call us native americans, the true americans, dumb and stupid. These animals are SACRED. I am a member of the Oglala Sioux Lakota.

David Zirk's picture
David Zirk
Submitted by David Zirk on
Why is it NOT illegal? It would be so easy to include a piece of written material when a license is issued, or during the Hunter's Safety course. SO DISRESPECTFUL SO SHAMEFUL

Nicholai Hel's picture
Nicholai Hel
Submitted by Nicholai Hel on
SO .... What are the "non-indigenous" hunters' names? Links to FB? You want this to stop? You do not cry about how we are getting fucked by outsiders.

Glen Douglas's picture
Glen Douglas
Submitted by Glen Douglas on
Just another example of sick and dysfunctional morons as they plod through the 21 st century. Sad on one level so tragic on another. Can't they leave anything alone? Tobacco and prayers sent out for this special being.

sue c ogden's picture
sue c ogden
Submitted by sue c ogden on
It seems that we "white" people will never understand the spirits as Natives do and it is such a shame for us but more importantly it is something we all need so badly in this world. I, personally, am very sad about this horrific "hunt" of such a special animal.

Susan Fisher's picture
Susan Fisher
Submitted by Susan Fisher on
i am not happy about this at all why do people have to be such idiots there was no excuse for what they did i am native american i am Mi'kmaq myself this disturbs me those guys should be arrested and put in jail grrrrrr i am not a happy camper about this it turned my stomach how they had to kill a sacred animal like that do they have no heart nor a conscience

Two Bears Growling's picture
Two Bears Growling
Submitted by Two Bears Growling on
I would not want to be any of these fools who murdered this wakan creature! They have no idea about what is coming to their lives VERY soon! This is a sin against the Great Spirit!

Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous on
realizing often... that so many people are out of touch with the land,, nature, and respect of mother earth

scott 's picture
Submitted by scott on
albino animals are rare i'm a hunter and I was taught to respect albino animals . let them go let them live.

scott 's picture
Submitted by scott on
albino animals are rare i'm a hunter and I was taught to respect albino animals . let them go let them live.

rumrunr kat gracey's picture
rumrunr kat gracey
Submitted by rumrunr kat gracey on
may the moose rest in peace n the hunters be forgiven by the ancesters and native peoples im sad n heart broken by this great spirit forgive them

Nannette Champeau's picture
Nannette Champeau
Submitted by Nannette Champeau on
I had a dream early this morning that has been bothering me all day. In the dream myself and a few friends were camped in a grove a apples. One of my friends (normally a very respectful hunter) had shot one of the deer. .a white deer. I was so upset about it as I felt the deer that came to the grove were almost tame because of the apple trees. My friend seemed unconcerned and put the deer near the camper. I noticed the deer was not dead and ran to tell my friend that the deer was still alive and suffering. He came back to finish the job but before he did, I ran to the deer and held her head in my hands, looked her in the eyes and told her how beautiful she was and how sorry I was for what had happened and thanked her for her presence. She nudged me with her nose and I felt such love from this deer. It was snowing softly and I noticed a lite dusting of snow on the ground as I woke up.'s picture
Submitted by lindacavickas@y... on
Can,t they be jailed or fined for doing that it won,t bring that beautiful animal back but might teach those stupid humans a lesson.

Barbara Sullivan-Parry's picture
Barbara Sulliva...
Submitted by Barbara Sulliva... on

Linda Grasse's picture
Linda Grasse
Submitted by Linda Grasse on
Since the ancient native people's man has plundered nature. These animals should be protected from gun toting thugs. Our little planet & the magnificent animals on it are a treasure that we should respect & protect. Our lack of respect for the intellectual & emotional capacity of animals is a disgrace. Native Americans & I personally believe these beautiful creatures belong to all of us .. these slime ball hunters just go out there & steal from all of us.

Ramona's picture
Submitted by Ramona on
I am mourning, too. This kind of thing makes me understand why a country where the so-called "dominant race" is white is screwed. What a waste. a few seconds ago

Myrna's picture
Submitted by Myrna on
The Moose must've had a powerful presence about him, an animal to be admired by the people who had the priviledge. So, sad it had a horrible end. At least the hunters are giving it proper closure. People need to learn the rules and respect them.

donna cheatham's picture
donna cheatham
Submitted by donna cheatham on
I hope those hunters who killed the White Moose a lifetime of failure, sickness, and pain...that is the least they deserve , may there stupidity, may there ignorance and greed die with them as they take that last breath on this earth.

Rose Bohler.'s picture
Rose Bohler.
Submitted by Rose Bohler. on
I was so saddened reading about the white moose killed by these hunters. I was not raised on a reserve but instinctively, spiritually, you know that if you came across an animal so rare harming this awe inspiring animal would be the last thing on your mind. Pictures would be taken and prayers would be given for such a holy gift. The significance of the message would not be lost, change would come, and for that matter change was amidst us already.

madeleine kenn's picture
madeleine kenn
Submitted by madeleine kenn on
As usual the "great white hunter" can't wait to kill anything that makes them feel like "a big man" - once again an animal has worked hard at surviving to have some "idiot" hunters kill it. What did it do for your ego to kill something so beautiful that should be left in the wild. Never mind that it was spiritual importance - Man can't wait to brag to their friends - look what I killed - well guess what I personally think you are nothing a small man - never mind legally you had a right - humanely you did not! Just like the man who catches the biggest fish that has lived for who only knows how long or the rare animal to have stuffed and put on a wall to show everyone who visits "look what I did". I have zero respect for you!!!!!

Michelle Martinez's picture
Michelle Martinez
Submitted by Michelle Martinez on
These men are cowards and should publish their names!!!

Rick Edward's picture
Rick Edward
Submitted by Rick Edward on
Who kills a harmless beautiful living creature? Sick people!!!