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A two-day organizational meeting was held in Winnipeg on February 21 and 22, 1985. The only drawback was having Treaty Indians and non-Treaty Indians in one assembly, but their main concern was, "Let's Save Our Trapping Industry".
It was made known that the fur industry is an 800 million dollar monopoly in this country. The trappers had indicated, that should Canada lean favourably towards any protesting group, the country stands to lose the royalties paid out to the government from the furs.
If the country was to shut down the fur industry, whole scale groups of Indian and Native people would be affected. Some indication of how much it would affect the Indian and Native populations are: the Dene Nation from the Northwest Territories have 67% of their income flowing from trapping; the Indians of Northern Quebec made it known that 65% of them are totally dependent on trapping. In various parts of Saskatchewan, and mainly in the north, whole communities look forward to trapping as a way of living.
If the country was to adhere to groups such as the Green Peace Movement the trappers made it known that Canada stands to be the loser in the end. Most Indian and Native trappers have only one skill, and that is to trap. Canada has a high unemployment rate and further still the welfare role of this country has sprung up into chaotic proportions. Where else does a trapper, with no other skills, have to reach but look to welfare as an alternative for survival.
For buyers who have never thought that anyone would demonstrate against their industry have already felt the pressure from groups such as the Green Peace Movement. It was indicated that the Green Peace Movement has gained momentum all over the world and they are very professional in their approaches on how to manipulate the government and how to use sensationalism to sway the public. The Fur Council of Canada has every reason to believe that the Green Peace Movement have used patience in the past by slowly attaining their objectives in periods of five years by applying political maneuvers.
This group are a world-wide organization who are funded by millionaire actors or actresses and other big bucks people who can cash in on free publicity with their tax exemption dollars. To this date the public has not been too opposed to the fur industry, but, witnessing the successes of the Green Peace Movement could stir the public against the fur industry.
Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations' Chief, Sol Sanderson, warned the trappers that we are up against a highly organized group who have successfully charged up demonstrations into emotionally charged rallies.
He told the assembly of trappers that we must develop and implement policies, programs and laws to regulate the trapping industries. He also indicated that the Green Peace Movement, Anti-Cruise Movement, Anti-Nuclear Movement and the present situation in British Columbia, where "Save the Wolves" is the battle cry, are all the same group.
He said, "The Green Peace Movement had wanted our support in the anti-nuclear movement and yet they slap us by going against our trapping industry."
The Green Peace Movement, to begin things, are using the excuse of getting more humane traps to catch animals. They are opposed to using leg hold traps and the use of snares.
The Indian and Metis trappers made it known that because of the high prices of traps they would be caught up in a no-win game if the traps were regulated. They voiced out their opinions that trappers are having it rough enough and are often at the mercy of fur buyers who often vary their traps for the furs brought in. Most contended they could not see Indian and Metis people change without going into deep debt or going bankrupt if the traps that are being introduced are enforced.
One spokesman stated "The only real winners will be the trapping manufactures who are eagerly waiting to pounce on the opportunity to make big bucks by selling new types of traps. "During the course of the meeting an Indian spokesman from Alberta stated, "We must take steps to counteract the Green Peace Movement, why not form a Brown Peace Movement from Indians and just be the opposite of these people."