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

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey Mounties seeking witnesses to Saturday shooting

Police say the victim isn’t providing investigators with information

Surrey council approves $150 FOI fee for attendance requests at city facilities

This came before council’s meeting on Monday July 13

Surrey’s first Ethics Commissioner brings ‘objectivity’ to the job

Vancouver lawyer Reece Harding is Surrey’s first Ethics Commissioner, also a first for B.C.

South Surrey car wash to help raise money for baby in need of $3M drug

Four-month-old Lucy Van Doormaal needs expensive treatment to fight rare genetic disorder

‘Trauma equals addiction’ – why some seek solace in illicit substances

Part 2: Many pushed into addiction by ‘toxic stress,’ says White Rock psychologist

Sources say Canada, U.S. likely to extend mutual travel ban into late August

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hinted at the possibility after a phone call with U.S. President

Windows broken, racist graffiti left on Okanagan home

Family says nothing like this has happened since they moved to Summerland in 1980s

19 times on 19th birthday: Langley teen goes from crutches to conquering Abby Grind

Kaden Van Buren started at midnight on Saturday. By 3 p.m. he had completed the trek 19 times.

Professional basketball in Canada begins return to action with COVID-19 testing

Abbotsford’s Fraser Valley Bandits, six other CEBL teams arrive in Ontario for Summer Series

B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’ charged with sex assault of teenage boys

The man, 75, is accused of assaulting teenage boys he met through Coquitlam-area churches

B.C.’s potential deficit $12.5 billion as spending spikes, taxes drop

Finance Minister Carole James gives COVID-19 outlook

Cold and wet weather has corn farmers waiting across the Fraser Valley

Usually the crop is ready July 5-12 but it’s still a few more days from perfection, says local farmer

Canadians torn on scaling back COVID-19 benefits to save money: poll

Of those surveyed, 78 per cent said they were worried about the size of the deficit

Hotel rooms for B.C. homeless too hasty, NDP government told

Businesses forced out, but crime goes down, minister says

Most Read

l -->