American Richard Desautel, 68, will go to the Supreme Court of Canada with the goal of proving the Sixint First Nation's existence in Canada and right to cross the border to hunt in the country. (Submitted by Mark Underhill)

“Extinct” Indigenous group fights for recognition

Canada’s Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case of an American indigenous man who claims to be a descendant of the Sinixt First Nation, formerly of British Columbia. The problem is that the Canadian government declared the group “extinct” in 1956.

The situation goes back to 1902 when the Canadian government set aside reserve land for the Sinixt in the Arrow Lakes Valley of British Columbia not far from the U.S. border. At that time there were 30 registered members although others lived in the area but were not registered.

With the arrival of settlers, miners and lumberjacks in the late 1800’s, it’s claimed that many members moved south into Washington state for safety and joined in with the Lakes Tribe there.  The last registered member in Canada died in 1953, and in 1956 the government declared the band extinct and reclaimed the reserve land.

A very approximate estimate of the Sinixt ancestral hunting range in Canada. Varying maps and claims estimate different geographical extents. (google maps)

In 2010, in an effort to assert their rights in Canada, a member of the Lakes group, Richard Desautel, went into Canada and shot an elk claiming traditional hunting rights and reported the kill to authorities in an effort to bring his assertion of traditional hunting rights before the courts. He was later charged with hunting without a licence and hunting as a non-resident under the Wildlife Act.

Richard Desautel leaves the B.C Court in 2017 after it upheld his right to hunt in Canada as a traditional territory of the Sixint indigenous group. (Bob Keating CBC)

In 2017, claiming he was exercising his constitutional right to hunt in his people’s ancestral and traditional territory, the British Columbia court acquitted him adding the group may not have moved willingly out of Canada into the U.S.

The Crown appealed twice claiming that constitutional rights and Aboriginal protection should not extend to non residents warning also of much broader consequences if it agreed with Desautel in terms of hunting across international borders.

Nonetheless, the courts upheld the ruling for Desautel in both cases.

The B.C. government had appealed the case to the Supreme Court saying the case is of national significance

It is thought there now may about 3,000 members of the Sinixt now living in the U.S.

Additional information-sources

Categories: Economy, Environment, Indigenous, International, Politics, Society
Tags: , , , , , ,

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet Netiquette guidelines.

Netiquette
When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1. RCInet.ca’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. RCInet.ca reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3. RCInet.ca’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish or in one of the two official languages, English or French. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*