"For a subject worked and reworked so often in novels, motion pictures, and television, American Indians remain probably the least understood and most misunderstood Americans of us all."

-John F. Kennedy in
the introduction to The American Heritage Book of Indians

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Hunting the Rez Magazine

 I stumbled on a fascinating new magazine called Hunting the Rez

"Welcome to Hunting the Rez Magazine, a magazine that is written with the non-enrolled sportsman in mind. Hunting the Rez is a quarterly publication, its aim is to provide the general public with a directory to 52 million additional acres of hunting and fishing opportunities right here in the United States. With hunting grounds getting harder and harder to find due to a myriad of reasons, we believe that Indian country is the biggest best little secret hot spot for sportsmen all across the globe."

The magazine provides all the essential information for the sportsman looking for that unique hunting or fishing trip that one cannot get on other lands.  The website notes many of the unique benefits of planning your next trip in Indian Country...

"...for example; many tribes have rifle seasons during bugling season as opposed to the states. Some tribes even offer extended seasons for non-enrolled sportsmen.

Many tribes are reintroducing animals on our respective lands, such as wild turkey, big horn sheep, buffalo and moose, a management strategy that serves as a base from which we can build and sustain a renewable natural resource."

The magazine especially emphasizes the quality experience available only through sound management techniques:

"Native American tribes have the resources and management means to realize the responsibility that stewardship of these lands carry and work with wildlife biologists for quality game management, and are implementing sound strategies for protection and promotion of resident wildlife."

If done right, I think this magazine and the resulting interest in hunting and fishing on tribal lands for non-enrolled members could prove a great new source of income and job creation for the tribes.  It's certainly a different crowd than the casino folks!

I especially appreciate the design of the magazine as it clearly steers away from any stereotypical Indian symbolism or design.  The magazine is professionally done with its focus squarely on hunting (albeit on tribal lands).  This is probably due to the fact that it is published by Jason Belcourt from the Rocky Boy Indian Reservation in Montana.

This is in stark contrast to many of the survival schools I profiled here:

Cody Lundin and Surviving like an Indian

Many of these schools are run by non-Natives who liberally sprinkle Native symbolism and spirituality throughout their programs and websites.  Then again, I think these schools attract a different crowd than the high-end sportsmen group.  Your average primitive living enthusiast or survival skills junkie would probably prefer a more rugged, earthy adventure in the outdoors than what I expect Hunting the Rez magazine promotes.  (But maybe I'm wrong)

As I argued in the "Cody Lundin" post, it's often hard to gauge the motivations of anyone who appropriates Native skills, culture, or spirituality.

A good example of how to appreciate Native skills in the outdoors is this article:

Native Americans Designed First ''Deer Drives''

It is a straightforward piece that describes Native corralling techniques for hunting deer.  It makes distinctions between tribal groups (Menomoni, Iroquois, "some western tribes") and doesn't indulge in any fluff language about Indians "living in harmony with the land" or their "superhuman" hunting skills.  It could make mention of modern Native hunting techniques but the piece does make it clear it's looking at historical trends.  Otherwise, it's a great informative piece that puts it all in perspective when it says:

"Much of what we use today in our tactical strategies to drive deer we have learned from the first Americans... I think our knowing how this hunting technique of man-drives has evolved is important. It's another part of the rich history of the sport of deer hunting."


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