Tanja Schramm
PhD Candidate
Dept of Renewable Resources, University of Alberta, Canada


Skinning Rabbit

September 1999

Malcolm Auger skins a rabbit on his trap line near the Caribou Mountains in northern Alberta. In the background are the remains of a spruce tipi that he built with local students the year before. Malcolm Auger is a Woodland Cree from the Fort Vermilion region, who has lived and worked on the land for much of his life. The photo tries to capture the different values that native people like Malcolm gain from the living northern boreal forest:

The spruce poles served to built a traditional shelter; the tipi was built to educate young Cree students about their culture; the rabbit was used for rabbit soup; and its fur can be used for clothing. Finally, the ease with which Malcolm skins the rabbit symbolizes a feeling of comfort with a lifestyle on the land. To the individual, this is likely the most important value. It is, however, the human 'forest non-timber-value' which is most threatened by contemporary industrial activity.