Letter-writer David Danylyshyn criticizes federal support of “institutionalized racial privilege” in salmon fishing.

Racial segregation unacceptable

An open letter to MP Russ Hiebert (South Surrey-White Rock-Cloverdale), and Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

An open letter to MP Russ Hiebert (South Surrey-White Rock-Cloverdale), and Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

I received a note this week from the BC Wildlife Federation stating that Aboriginals will be doing some industrial fishing on the Fraser, and any non-Aboriginals fishing will be made to move.

I write to you with some concerns:

1. Aboriginal claim to “traditional” resource extraction should be done with traditional means. At no point in pre-contact history did local Aboriginals use seine gear involving nylon nets, hydraulic winches, and powerboats. That they have often been allowed to do so in the past makes mock of their supposed reverence for their traditions and the environment. They should not be allowed to use them now.

2. To the degree that there is a pink-salmon surplus to be utilized, it should be harvested by licensed sport and commercial fishermen, irrespective of race. Aboriginals of course should be free to exploit their traditional fishery, using traditional technology.

3. I am concerned that non-Aboriginal fishermen are racially relegated to less-productive, and possibly more dangerous areas – “moving into the steep banks, holes and tributaries” – to fish. Nice, I suppose, that Aboriginals “extend their gratitude for… consideration” during this time. Doubtless those who sat at the front of the bus “extended their gratitude” to those forced by law to sit at the back.

This Fisheries and Oceans Canada event reeks of institutionalized racial privilege, and racial segregation, and it is repellent.

David Danylyshyn, Surrey



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