Spring Goose Hunt
The spring hunt for the Cree has always been an important traditional activity that has been practiced since time immemorial. In the past, the hunt signified a time of renewal of life and a food source after a long winter on the land. The arrival of the geese to the region mean families will make their way from their winter hunting grounds to the coastal shores to hunt the geese and ducks that flock along the shores of James Bay.
Today, the goose hunt still signifies as an important food source to supplement the modern Cree family's meals. It is also a time to visit the traditional hunting territory and share the experience as a family. Everyone plays an important part in the hunt as they all share the responsibilities around the camp. The hunt is not only a source of food for the people, but it also plays an increasingly important role in the transmission of Cree culture, skills and ethics.
The significance of the hunt today for young people may not be the same as it was in the past, but it does offer the youth an opportunity to share and experience the traditional spring goose hunt that dates back thousands of years. It is still being carried on today by a new generation with the guiding force of their elders.
An important role of the hunt is the hunting leader or “okimah”, a role held by the filmmaker’s father Frederick Rickard Sr. The okimah are the hunting leaders whose life experiences and observations as hunters enable them to teach customary rules for exploiting the resource base. These hunting excursions are not only about harvesting but about the need to respect the land and the animals, and the transmission of the okimah's knowledge from one generation to the next.