Peskotomuhkati Chief Hugh Akagi is seen in an undated handout photo. A recent Supreme Court decision about Indigenous rights on the west coast may have implications for First Nations groups who straddle the Maine - New Brunswick border on the east coast. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Cynthia Howland, *MANDATORY CREDIT*

Peskotomuhkati Chief Hugh Akagi is seen in an undated handout photo. A recent Supreme Court decision about Indigenous rights on the west coast may have implications for First Nations groups who straddle the Maine - New Brunswick border on the east coast. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Cynthia Howland, *MANDATORY CREDIT*

Court decision on rights on the west coast may affect Indigenous people in the east

The chief said negotiations need to address issues such as those surrounding Canada’s fisheries

A recent Supreme Court decision about Indigenous hunting rights on the west coast may have implications for First Nations groups who straddle the Maine – New Brunswick border on the opposite side of the country.

The April 23 decision stated an American Indigenous man has a constitutionally protected right to hunt in British Columbia given his people’s historic ties to the region.

Richard Lee Desautel, a U.S. citizen, was charged with hunting without a licence after shooting an elk near Castlegar, B.C., but defended his actions on the basis he had an Aboriginal right to hunt protected by section 35 of Canada’s Constitution Act.

Now members of the Peskotomuhkati Nation, with communities in New Brunswick and Maine, assert their citizens have the same rights that they expect the federal government to honour.

“We know who we are and I really did not need a Supreme Court to tell me who I am or who my people are,” Peskotomuhkati Chief Hugh Akagi said in an interview Saturday.

The chief said negotiations need to address issues such as those surrounding Canada’s fisheries.

“It’s going to come down to some common sense. It’s going to come down to justice for our people. It’s going to come down to respect for treaties,” he said. “That’s the relationship I’m looking for.”

Lawyer Paul Williams, who is negotiating for the Peskotomuhkati, said the court decision is clear.

“It’s one nation, everybody is related, and now the Supreme Court has said it’s one nation for the purpose of Canadian Constitutional recognition and protection as well,” he said.

“We’re going to have to work together quickly and decisively to set up recognition of the entire nation’s fisheries, but at the same time a conservation regime that takes precedence over any commercial rights or food rights.”

Both Williams and Akagi say a deal was reached three years ago that allows band members from Maine to hunt moose in New Brunswick. They said they believe it can be a template for other agreements.

“Let’s take something successful like this moose hunt and build on it,” Akagi said.

Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press

huntingIndigenous

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The five graduating members of the Vernon-based Thompson Okanagan Lakers U18AAA girls hockey team – Jessica Engelbrecht (from left), Makenna Howe, Cheree Peters, Jayden Perpelitz, and Alexis Bishop – have all committed to collegiate hockey programs in Canada and the U.S. (Photo submitted)
Vernon-based hockey squad sends 5 to college ranks

Thompson Okanagan U18AAA Lakers players heading to Canadian and U.S. programs

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Police report outlines latest efforts to fight North Okanagan sex crimes

The local RCMP sex crimes unit has been involved in a number of investigations so far in 2021

Rutland Senior Secondary School. (Twila Amato/Black Press Media)
Two Rutland schools exposed to COVID-19

Interior Health confirmed exposures at Rutland Senior Secondary and Pearson Road Elementary

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a 'person of interest' in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
Man sought in suspicious Kootenay death found in Lake Country

Philip Toner is a person of interest in the death of Brenda Ware

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
65 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Overall, B.C. is seeing a decrease in COVID-19 cases

Members of the Vernon Kalamalka Chorus sing in their cars, tuned into the radio, under the direction of Debbie Parmenter. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
VIDEO: Vernon choir steers around COVID with ‘carbershop’ twist

Singers find a unique way to practice during pandemic restrictions

Keith MacIntyre - BC Libertarian
Penticton’s Keith MacIntyre new leader of the B.C. Libertarian Party

The Penticton businessman was voted in by members of the party on May 8

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Thompson Rivers University campus is in Kamloops, B.C. (KTW file photo)
Thompson Rivers the 1st B.C. university to supply free menstrual products

The university will offer the products this September

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Fraser Health is using ‘targeted’ vaccination clinics in high-risk areas of the Lower Mainland. (Fraser Health photo)
B.C.’s COVID-19 decrease continues, 515 new cases Tuesday

426 seriously ill people in hospital, up from 415 Monday

RCMP. (Black Press File)
Major Crimes called in after two bodies discovered near Penticton

A manhunt involving a police helicopter took place on May 10

The site of Sunfest, Laketown Ranch, will be open for camping this summer. (Citizen file)
Sunfest country music bash won’t be shining on B.C. in 2021

Annual Vancouver Island Festival cancelled due to COVID-19, along with Laketown Shakedown

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation elected chief councillor Moses Martin, who was also Chantel Moore’s grandfather, speaks to media in Port Alberni on Aug. 16, 2020, during a visit from NDP leader Jagmeet Singh following the police shooting of Chantel Moore. (Elena Rardon photo)
Mother of 2 shot by police in critical condition, says B.C. First Nation chief

Community ‘devastated’ by third member of 1,150-person Vancouver Island nation shot in less than a year

Most Read