Aboriginal business to lead rabbit cull in Saskatoon
- EFN Staff | April 01, 2017
Two entrepreneurs in Saskatoon have landed themselves a killer contract from the City of Saskatoon. Combining their entrepreneurialism and their urban Aboriginal right to hunt, John Lagimodiere and Winston McLean’s business “Half Breed and an Indian” has been chosen by the City to help control the booming rabbit population in Saskatoon.
The business idea came over a lunch break. “We were eating outside and Winston noticed all the rabbits around,” said Lagimodiere. “We realized they were creating trouble in the park and in innocent neighbourhoods. There was so many of them, the damage to the grass and trees was quite bad. And what they were doing to the local cats was just disgusting. Winston thought that was just wrong.”
So the fellows brainstormed over the next couple days and also did some research on businesses and their Aboriginal rights. They found a section in the Constitution that allowed for a reasonable livelihood to be made from hunting and gathering.
They came up with a plan to help curb the rabbit population. Winston, who is from the James Smith Cree Nation, has extensive rabbit experience from his homeland and though a bit older and slower, he is a deadly shot. John, on the other hand, was raised in the city, but is wicked fast. They merged their talents into a lethal combination. “I shoot the rabbits with my slingshot,” said McLean. “Unless I get a head shot, the slingshot won’t kill them. Then John runs up and clubs them with his wapos stick. Very efficient.”
“I only need one whack,” said Lagimodiere, who honed his hacking skills in years of city hockey. “There is no suffering here except for the landscape and animals that the rabbits are abusing.”
Once their technique was perfected, they still had to convince the City to hire them on. They went to Frank Bigspender, Manager of Aboriginal Rights and Benefits for the City. “I was impressed with the drive and innovation of these two. Plus, those rabbits are disgusting,” said Bigspender. “Our city lawyers did due diligence and legally, those guys can hunt in the City, but have to use traditional weapons. And in this era of reconciliation, empowering people who want to exercise their Aboriginal rights should be encouraged.”
The guys want others to learn from their business relationship. “We want to show that Métis and First Nation people can work together for the betterment of everyone,” said McLean. “We don’t see colour, just character.”
The plan is to bring the rabbit population down to a manageable level. And with the hundreds of rabbits roaming the city, they will be busy. “We will be working hard all summer and figure to clean up twenty rabbits per day and a few gophers if we are lucky. We both believe we can get er done,” said Lagimodiere. “And nothing is wasted. I learned a way to soften the pelt using my teeth and we are selling them to artisans and Winston will be using all the meat. It feels good to contribute and help the grass and the cats.”
“I’m eating rabbit soup all summer,” added McLean.
The contract for the Half Breed and an Indian rabbit cull runs from April 1, 2017 to April 1, 2018.