Tshishennish Pasteen


A menikan was built for trapping caribou. It was a huge place. Once the caribou went in, they couldn't come out. Young trees and logs were used to make the fence. It was good because they couldn't come out. There was no space to crawl under the logs. It could destroy it though. You watched it prior to killing it. The other caribou followed the leader, if it was not aggressive or threatened, it would follow the leader into the corral. When one felt threatened, it would try to break that trap anyway. It is inside of Mushuau-shipu (George River). I suppose you could make it here, too, if you wanted to. You can use the snow too, especially with these high snow banks. Sticks, logs and young trees to make a fence-like corral. It was built so the caribou could not crawl under to get away.

You started shooting it then with the bow and arrows. After the caribou was killed, you dragged it out without destroying the corral. You made a small exit to one side of the fence where you could take the caribou out.

There was an entrance, then it gradually expanded into a circle. That's what a menikan is. Yes, it [the caribou] came through the same path it used earlier. It didn't go anywhere else. They always seemed to take the same path right into the corral.

One time, there was a small child who ran towards the entrance while the caribou were going inside the corral. It tripped and fell right in the caribou's path. They never stepped on the child. After the caribou had moved inside, they ran to the child and he wasn't hurt. Everybody thought he was killed in the stampede, but he turned out to be all right.

The caribou walked slowly, but when they were being scared, they walked faster, right into the trap. Once they got inside, they scattered around in the corral. Then the shooting began once they were inside. You could anticipate when the caribou were going to try and break free because they examined the fence [where they might escape]. They started shooting right away. If you waited, they would break free and get away. The fence was not very strong or secured really good, just trees and sticks. They just needed to give a good kick to get destroy the trap.