Cree man in Saskatchewan ordered to pay $1,000 fine for selling three bags of fish to conservation officer

A Canoe Lake Cree Nation man was fined $900 Thursday after being caught selling $90 worth of fish to an undercover Saskatchewan conservation officer.

Defence lawyer Dwayne Stonechild said he requested a conditional discharge while Crown attorney Matthew Miazga wanted Donald Iron fined $3,000 per sale.

Iron was convicted in January of selling three bags of fish he caught in Canoe Lake west of Saskatoon.

In the end, Judge Miguel Martinez ordered Iron to pay a fine of $300 on each of the three counts for a total in the $1,100-range after surcharges were applied, Stonechild said in a telephone interview.

“He can’t afford to pay it,” the lawyer added. “[He] gets $300 a month in social assistance payments from the band.”

Iron was found guilty after a multi-month undercover operation by the Saskatchewan Ministry of the Environment.

But details of the so-called sting are protected by a court-imposed publication ban.

Canoe Lake Chief Francis Iron said he is not happy with what went down on his territory without the band’s knowledge or permission.

He said he turned to the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN), which advocates for land and treaty rights, for support.

“We may appeal,” he said Thursday. “Donald doesn’t even have a phone.”

FSIN issued a release after the conviction became public reiterating that fishing is a “fundamental treaty and inherent right First Nations people have.”

It also expressed concerns the “harassment of First Nations traditional land users” could escalate, especially in light of the fact conservation officers in the province are expected to soon be armed with semi-automatic carbine rifles.

Stonechild said his client had trouble following what was happening in court.

“He has a grade 4 or grade 5 education,” the lawyer said in a telephone interview.

But he said Iron got the message, nevertheless, exclaiming after the sentencing, “It will not happen again.”

Meanwhile, some media outlets plan to fight the publication ban on the sting details in court.

 

Investigative Reporter / Winnipeg

Award-winning reporter Kathleen Martens covers western and northern Canada for aptnnews.ca. A veteran of the Brandon Sun, Sun Media and APTN Investigates, she is based in APTN’s head office, specializing in stories about property, women’s rights and community.


20 thoughts on “Cree man in Saskatchewan ordered to pay $1,000 fine for selling three bags of fish to conservation officer

  1. Saskatchewan Provincial Laws do not apply on Indian Reservation Lands, I’ve chased Provincial Conservation Officers off the La-Plonge Indian Reservation many times and they know not to come in without invitation.

  2. Well as much as I believe in native rights, personally I don’t condone the selling of goods in this fashion as the rights that are given are for personal not for profit or business. The fish caught should be eaten by the individual and or shared with others who cannot fish for themselves. As part of the community the band should compensate so other members may eat as well.

    1. appeal…he set him up!…
      And you can set up anyone these times for a few dollars. Even then Dennis knows about protocol… the officer does not even realize the indigenous have that… always sharing and trading and with tobacco.

  3. Is there a GoFundMe for this guy? If Gerald Stanley can raise a million for murdering Colten Bushie in cold blood, we should be able to at least help pay this guy’s fine and legal fees. Maybe buy him a new boat?

  4. I would have bartered that fish,but depends on how big and weight the fish were.myelf l wouldnt have sold them.

  5. I’m confused. Doesn’t he have a right to make a moderate livelihood from hunting fishing and nor gathering?

  6. So they gave him a 1000.oo fine they payed him 300 to put some kind of equipment by cable box and they spend countless hrs gas etc plus court costs ..wondering what kind of dollars were spent to entrap mr iron for $90.oo worth of fish ?

  7. So they gave him a 1000.oo fine they payed him 300 to put some kind of equipment by cable box and they spend countless hrs gas etc plus court costs ..wondering what kind of dollars were spent to entrap mr iron for $90.oo worth of fish ?

  8. Well as much as I believe in native rights, personally I don’t condone the selling of goods in this fashion as the rights that are given are for personal not for profit or business. The fish caught should be eaten by the individual and or shared with others who cannot fish for themselves. As part of the community the band should compensate so other members may eat as well.

    1. appeal…he set him up!…
      And you can set up anyone these times for a few dollars. Even then Dennis knows about protocol… the officer does not even realize the indigenous have that… always sharing and trading and with tobacco.

  9. I would have bartered that fish,but depends on how big and weight the fish were.myelf l wouldnt have sold them.

  10. I’m confused. Doesn’t he have a right to make a moderate livelihood from hunting fishing and nor gathering?

  11. Saskatchewan Provincial Laws do not apply on Indian Reservation Lands, I’ve chased Provincial Conservation Officers off the La-Plonge Indian Reservation many times and they know not to come in without invitation.

  12. Is there a GoFundMe for this guy? If Gerald Stanley can raise a million for murdering Colten Bushie in cold blood, we should be able to at least help pay this guy’s fine and legal fees. Maybe buy him a new boat?

Comments are closed.