Manitoba’s Nepinak hopes for another court hearing on hunting rights

Derek Nepinak wants government to reaffirm treaty rights over hunting.

The Canadian Press
WINNIPEG –The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs is hoping for another court battle over Indigenous hunting rights.

Last week, the chief of the Pine Creek First Nation and his cousin George Lamirande, also from Pine Creek, pleaded guilty to charges of unlawful hunting on private property near Canora, Sask.

Boucher and Lamirande were each fined $7,500.

Read Treaties, Moose and a Line in the Sand

Government officials say that in Saskatchewan, people exercising treaty rights to hunt for food must ask for prior permission to hunt on private land.

But Grand Chief Derek Nepinak with the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs says the government has obligations under Treaties to accommodate Indigenous rights.

Nepinak says he’s been told the men cannot appeal because they pleaded guilty, but talks are underway to find a legal avenue to reaffirm hunting rights.

“The settler community needs to understand the limits of notions of private property in treaty lands,” Nepinak said in a press release.

“The concept of private property is limited by Crown obligations … to not interfere with Indigenous treaty hunters in the carrying-out of their vocation of hunting safely.”

Boucher and Lamirande were charged after the landowner told investigators last year he observed three moose being loaded into two trucks on his land, and provided the officers with a Manitoba licence plate from one of the vehicles.

The investigation included search warrants being issued at two residences on the Pine Creek First Nation and DNA testing on the moose meat comparing it to samples collected at the kill site.

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