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Bill Erasmus, National Chief of the
Dene Nation, Chairperson of the
Bill Erasmus, Indigenous Survival International (ISI), (Canada) Co-chairperson, emphasizes the fact that hunting, trapping and fishing rights are protected under the Treaties which are international agreements between First Nations and the Crown in right of Canada. These treaties are binding and must not in any way be compromised by amendments to Canada's constitution. In fact, they should be protected and enhanced by asserting the reality of inherent self-government of First Nations.
While many Canadians are starting to realize the unique knowledge Aboriginal people possess in respect to sustainable development, it does not seem to be enough to slow the momentum that the animal rights groups have, intent as they are on destroying the fur industry, stated Lillian Sanderson, ISI Board member representing the Native Womens Association of Canada.
She says that traditional resource users are the best examples that Canada has of true sustainable development and that federal and provincial governments alike should provide necessary resources to Aboriginal people to educate other Canadians, and indeed the world, on these crucial matters.
While hunting, trapping and fishing are integral to our identity, the economic aspects of trapping are also vital to the 250,000 Indigenous people who are highly dependent on life on the land. Removal from the land attacks their livelihood and their cultures on all fronts and will mean assimilation into the larger society at the bottom of the socio-economic scale, as a marginalized and welfare-dependent population, impoverished by wealthy outside interests, including the animal rights groups.
It is with these truths that ISI (Canada) calls on all Aboriginal people in Canada to support the traditional resource users, the keepers of the land, by educating themselves and others on who we are. We must combat the animal rights campaigns that are attacking our existence as Aboriginal peoples.