I’m sure many ppl have heard of Aboriginal Rights and Title…
One of the reasons the ppl fought for this is because we have rights through treaties and the Indian Act to hunt and fish.
Some treaties say something to the effect of – to the right to live our lives as we always have: hunting the game we’ve always hunted, fishing for fish we’ve always eaten, gathering and harvesting all the foods we’ve always eaten.
And for the Douglas treaty this means on any public and crown lands (as far as I know).
So if you see a Native harvesting in a park and you’re not Native and for some reason this offends you. Step back. Walk away. Because the people under the Douglas Treaty have a right to gather plants such as camas, ferns, cedar, devils clubs, etc.
Your “public parks” or “trails” were often our meadows or forests for gathering food or medicine.
And where your homes are were also these places. But, we can’t go there anymore because your house is there. Our livelihoods were killed and destroyed for your ability to live in a home.
But I’m bringing this up because even though we have these rights and even though government agencies know our rights they like to try to incarcerate Indigenous people, take their guns or boats, in some extreme cases peoples accounts get frozen. Because a Native wants to fish and feed their community.
And year after year our people need to talk to DFO (usually) to say, “Hey. You infringed upon our rights YOU broke the law by taking this person’s food.”
And it needs to usually be an elder with history in politics or whose had this happen to them, or the Chiefs and Council. But, more and more the Chiefs and Councils won’t fight this.
Our communities need to hold our Chiefs and council accountable for failure to stand up for our community members, but something can be said about settlers putting pressure on DFO and conservation departments to back off from Native fisherman. Do their job to make sure commercial fisherman aren’t overharvesting and also limiting permits or whatever they give commercial fisheries the right to fish in Our waters.
Does that click a lightbulb for some people? You need permission to be in our space rather than the other way around? Canadians so often think Indians need permission to do anything.
It’s not our fault that colonialism has a legacy of taking too much. People get mad that they can’t take as much fish as they used to. It’s because of a lack of harmony with nature. It’s been take take take in Canada for over 150 years. Who knows how long on the other side of the globe. It’s colonialism that created this. And we never wanted a part of it. Some nations of people actually did. But we didn’t. And we are forced to – by following colonial laws that managed to be in alignment with us having rights – teach people how they’re doing things wrong. How we as a race of ppl need to stop fishing. How we’ve taken too much. How our actions have consequences. But many commercial fisheries people resort to blaming Indians and talking down on Indians. They don’t want to be accountable for what’s happening in the water. All they see is how they’ll suffer. They don’t see how everything is suffering because of this imbalance.
It’s a tragedy of the human experience.