Metis Hunting Rights on Trial in Meadow Lake

Tuesday, October 05, 2004 at 14:52



An important Metis hunting rights case is being heard in a Meadow Lake courtroom this week.


The so-called Laviolette case will test whether the hunting rights granted to Metis in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario in last year’s landmark Powley decision by the Supreme Court also apply to Saskatchewan Metis.


Up until the Powley ruling, only about 5 to 10 per cent of Metis living in northern Saskatchewan had the same hunting and fishing rights as status Indians — under guidelines the province adopted after the Morin and Daigneault decision in 1997.


However, since the Supreme Court ruling, the province has taken the position that more Metis in the North likely qualify for the rights — since the ruling puts more emphasis on whether a person is from a historic Metis community rather than whether they are a subsistence hunter or fisher.


This week’s case will also test the portability of Metis hunting rights in the province.


Meadow Lake Metis resident Ron Laviolette was charged with a fishing offence after fishing 2 years ago in Green Lake.


Laviolette, whose mother is from Green Lake, was fishing with a Metis man from Green Lake — who wasn’t charged.


Two weeks have been set aside in Meadow Lake Provincial Court to hear this case.