The Genuine Mackenzie Valley Fur label rests on top of pelts at a forum in Dettah. Chloe Williams/Cabin Radio
The Northwest Territories government has released the findings of an external review into a program that supports traditional fur harvesting in the territory.
The Genuine Mackenzie Valley Fur Program, which was established in 2000, provides NWT harvesters with access to the fur market, protects them against sudden and unanticipated declines in market prices, promotes and markets fur, and covers the associated costs of selling furs at auction.
The review included a market scan, interviews, and a survey of stakeholders with 51 people identifying as craft artists and 17 as harvesters in the territory responding.
The report lists five recommendations to improve the administration and delivery of the Genuine Mackenzie Valley Fur Program.
That includes updating the roles and responsibilities of the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment and the Department of Environment and Climate Change related to the program. Survey respondents said they were sometimes confused which department is responsible for what.
The evaluation also recommends updating the Fur Harvesting Management System and holding regular gatherings – such as the Genuine Mackenzie Valley Fur forum held in Dettah in March – in the territory’s regional centres on a rotational basis. Finally, it recommends dedicating resources to promote and improve awareness of the program, and updating performance and reporting tools as there is a lack of uniform data collection across the departments.
The territorial government has accepted all of the recommendations. Its response details timelines for how and when it plans to carry out those recommendations, including committing funds to a new management system and creating a promotional plan for the Genuine Mackenzie Valley Fur Program.