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Chiefs Establish Wildlife Commission

Gloria Ledoux

FSIN Chiefs and Elders held a two day workshop on Hunting, Fishing, Trapping and Gathering Rights in Saskatoon on April17 and 18.

The Assembly passed a motion, moved by Waterhen Chief Fred Martell, "that the FSIN establish an Indian Wildlife and Hunting, Fishing and Trapping Commission and that the Commission priorize the issues and establish Indian legislation based on pre-existing and Treaty Rights.

A Commission of Chiefs and Elders will define treaty positions and traditional values/practices. "After 1112 days of discussion and 100 years of the federal and provincial governments eroding our Treaty Rights, it's time for action", Chief Martell told the attending delegates at the workshop. Chief Martell stated that he has attended meetings for over 32 years, he has travelled by horse and wagon from Waterhen to Duck Lake and the same problems are still being discussed. Working as a guide Chief Mantel has developed "bad feelings" towards the government. DNR would issue license for sports hunting and the waste of wild meat, etc. still sickens the Chief. "We should be getting after the farmers that poison ducks with herbicides", said Martell.

In his opening remarks, Chief Crowe said we cannot continue to use courts that are not our jurisdiction. Even if we win cases, Conservation Officers continue to lay charges and change legislation. It's time we had our own Indian people enforcing our own laws, laws we know and understand.

Grand Chief of Saskatchewan Indian Veterans Association, Chief Ernie Crowe remembers attending the Regina Exhibition, setting up camp and getting rations. They would then pack up and travel to Maple Creek. The women wold pick chokecherries and the men would hunt all day. The ladies would slice the meat, dry it and would then crush chokecherries, make them into little balls and dry them. They would stay for 2 to 3 weeks then head south to Indian Head to do the same thing. By winter they would have lots of meat and food to last the winter. Today, there are too many restrictions. "Let us put our resources together and listen to our Elders".

The threatened closure of Moose Mountain Park has prompted Chief Brain Standingready to take a lead role in co-managing the Park. Chief Standingready is concerned about the dwindling number of Big Game, Moose, Elk, White-Tailed deer, etc. The problem he says includes Indians and non-Indians who are over-hunting, sports hunting, and using 4 x 4's and other recreational equipment. Chief Standingready hopes to establish Indian laws that will supersede provincial laws.

Project Co-ordinator Norman Stevenson gave a brief report on the Wildlife legislation study. They have met with the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation and the Saskatoon Association of Rural Municipalities. "There is a void until Indian draft legislation is in place, provincial laws will apply", Stevenson stated.

Chief Fred Martell
Chief Fred Martell