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Decision on Indigenous hunting rights ‘will be picked up in other parts of the world’: lawyer – The Lawyer’s Daily

by ahnationtalk on May 15, 2019137 Views

May 15, 2019

An Indigenous man from the United States has had his acquittal for unlawful hunting upheld after the B.C. Court of Appeal has ruled his Aboriginal right to hunt was protected by the Canadian Constitution.

Richard Lee Desautel is a member of the Lakes Tribe of the Colville Confederated Tribes in Washington state, an American citizen who has never lived in British Columbia. In 2010, he killed an elk near Castlegar, B.C. When he informed the authorities, he was charged with hunting without a licence and hunting big game while not being a resident of British Columbia under the provincial Wildlife Act.

Desautel disputed the charges, saying he was exercising a lawful Aboriginal right to hunt for ceremonial purposes on the traditional territory of his ancestors, the Sinixt people, pursuant to s. 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982. He described the Lakes Tribe as a successor to the Sinixt, also known as the Arrow Lakes people, who lived in British Columbia long before European contact, although the federal government declared the band itself extinct in 1956.

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