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Indian Hunting Rights Remain Unclear

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      MAY 1976      v06 n05 p16  
The hunting rights for Treaty. Indians have yet to be made clear. The Ronald Thompson case scheduled to be heard by the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal on May 10 was dropped by the Crown on May 7.

Ronald Thompson had been charged April 21, 1974, under Section 5 of the Migratory Game Birds Act for allegedly hunting migratory game birds, in this case a duck, without a permit, in a prohibited area and out of season.

Ronald Thompson is a Treaty Indian from the Little Pine Reserve. The alleged offence took place in the Neilburg District.

Ronald Thompson was convicted by a Magistrates Court. On the advice of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indians, the conviction was appealed to the Court of Queens Bench.

The presiding judge Sirois held that under Section 5 of the Migratory Bird Convention Act, Regulation 5, the accused has the right to hunt, in any area of Canada, migratory game birds without a migratory game bird hunting permit. The case was then further appealed by the Federal Government to the Court of Appeal for Saskatchewan and the Crown abandoned its appeal at the eleventh hour.

Ronald Thompson's defence was that Regulation 5 allows an Indian or Eskimo in. any area of Canada to hunt migratory game birds without a migratory game bird permit. Other defences were based on Treaty 6 and the Bill of Rights.

Commenting on the fact that the charges had been dropped, Chief David Ahenakew of the FSI stated that there were unconfirmed rumors that the government is unhappy with the results of this case and that there is a move to redraft Regulation 5 to make it clear that Indians are subject to seasonal restrictions and permit restrictions provided for in the Canadian, American, Mexican Convention.

"On the surface, it may appear to be a victory for Indians, but we must be ever watchful of the Government's ability to redraft its regulations to our detriment," he stated.

Indian Hunting Rights Remain Unclear
"Where have all my Treaty Rights Gone?"