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Halloween is slowly creeping up on us, accompanied by the eerie, spiritual vibes of the season. The spooktacular holiday is often associated with both mythical and real-life “spirit animals.”
Werewolves, owls, and cats, for example, are no strangers to any Halloween tale. However, it may be shocking to learn that the idea of sacred “spirit animals” is not a new one—it’s a topic that has been traversing cultures for centuries.
Majestic animals across the world have earned status in many cultures as sacred, with Native American “spirit” or “totem” animals at the forefront of recent discussion. Sparked by recent news of the slaying of an albino moose by hunters in Nova Scotia last week, the Halloween spirit has taken a different twist.
In the Cape Breton Highlands of Nova Scotia, three hunters recently shot and killed a rare albino moose. Their actions, along with posts of the awful deed on social media websites, elicited an outraged response from the indigenous Mi’kmaq community.
Mi’kmaq hunter Danny Paul said to the Canadian Broadcasting Association:
“We know the significance and we’ve been teaching that to the non-native population for almost 500 years — about the importance that this and other white animals played in our lives.
We are not to harm them in any way, shape, or form because they could be one of our ancestors coming to remind us of something significant that’s going to happen within our communities.”
Since the backlash surrounding the moose’s death, the hunters have agreed to return the hide to Mi’kmaq Millbrook First Nation Chief Bob Gloade, who is advocating the passage of legislation to protect the sacred white moose in the future and to build a better relationship between the aboriginal and non-aboriginal people in Nova Scotia.
The hunters claimed to not have known the implications of the hunt, unaware of the white moose’s sacred nature.
According to Gloade, “They’re going to set an altar where the hide will be. There will be offerings and there will be prayers…It’s a way of releasing the spirit of the animal back to its rightful place.”
Instances like the one above are not uncommon. It’s comparable to the Cherokee bear incident that occurred in North Carolina as well as the British Columbian White Bear spotting, and will most likely remain an open discussion in years to come.
In the meantime, take a look at ten of the world’s most sacred animals in the gallery below. Hopefully, their spirits remain appeased this particular holiday season.