Native rights are on record

Editor:

Re: Racial segregation unacceptable, Sept. 19 letters.

Editor:

Re: Racial segregation unacceptable, Sept. 19 letters.

The native perspective on Pacific fisheries should be clear to everyone.

As Diane Newell points out in her book, Tangled Webs of History, First Nations claim aboriginal title to their fisheries. For thousands of years, natives have lived in distinct communities and harvested fish, especially salmon, which they consumed, traded and used for ceremonies.

The Supreme Court of Canada, in R. v. Van der Peet (1996), noted it is that fact “which separates aboriginal peoples from all other minority groups… and mandates their special legal, and now constitutional status.”

Moreover, section 35(1) of the Canadian Constitution, 1982, which keys on aboriginal and treaty rights, must be both upheld and given a “generous liberal interpretation,” according to the Supreme Court in R. v. Sparrow (1990).

As for traditions, they are important to natives, but not to a slavish extent. Anishinabe lawyer John Borrows argues the adoption of new traditions is integral to the survival of First Nation communities.

But don’t discount aboriginal technology; in 1894, in response to charges of overfishing, B.C. fishing regulations were changed to “no Indian shall spear, trap or pen fish.” In the early 1900s, fishery officers destroyed weirs at the Babine, Bulkley, Cowichan and Fraser Rivers. Natives were then given gillnets to work with.

And while the commercial right of natives to sell fish is restricted, Canadian courts confirm First Nations can sell their land – something their ancestors never did. This anomaly has never been explained.

Native traditions dictate the land and resources must be shared; let’s hope with understanding and mutual respect on all sides.

Bob Burgel, Surrey

 

 

Just Posted

South Surrey burn survivor shares ‘worst’ experience

Manpreet Braich suffered second- and third-degree burns in 2013

Out with a roar: Dinosaurs take over forest at Surrey school on last week of class

Six colourful creatures painted by Grade 3 students led youngsters on an expedition in the outdoor classroom

Surrey city council cost taxpayers nearly $1M in 2018

That includes more than $151,372 in expenses from the former council

Animal advocates yowl after Delta cat severely injured in trap

Blu, a three-year-old house cat, suffered severe damage to his hind leg after being stuck in trap for days

Judge adjusts Charter award in RCMP assault case in Surrey

Former Surrey hotel manager was awarded $65,000 in damages after RCMP assaulted him

VIDEO: Killer whale steals fisherman’s catch off North Coast

Fishing duel results in eager orca snagging salmon in Prince Rupert

Fate of accused in Canadian couple’s 1987 killings in jury’s hands

William Talbott’s lawyer says DNA doesn’t prove murder

Child killed after being hit in driveway on Vancouver Island

The driver of the vehicle remained at the crash scene and is fully cooperating

Eating sandwiches, putting on makeup behind the wheel could land you a fine

RCMP say if you cause an accident while eating you could be penalized

40 cats surrendered in apparent hoarding at B.C. home

Officers found the cats living among piles of garbage and feces, suffering from fleas

Vancouver Aquarium drops cetacean ban lawsuit in new lease agreement

Ocean Wise CEO Lasse Gustavsson called the updated lease an exciting new chapter for the aquarium

Plane veers off runway, into ditch at Langley Airport

Fire, ambulance, and police are on scene

Okanagan RCMP bike patrol rolls up on alleged stolen vehicle from Burnaby

The driver, a 30-year-old Kelowna man, has been held in custody and is facing possible charges of possession of stolen property and obstructing a police officer

Man arrested after pimping investigation in Whistler

A 44-year-old man has been charged with procuring and benefiting from sexual services

Most Read

l -->