MNS Says Metis Hunters Are Targets Of Harassment
Monday, December 05, 2005 at 15:35
Métis Nation of Saskatchewan president Dwayne Roth is lashing out at Saskatchewan Environment for how conservation officers are currently interpreting Métis hunting and fishing rights in the province.
Dwayne Roth says the officers are getting Metis to fill out questionnaires, and then making the determination themselves about who qualifies for harvesting rights.
Roth feels that call should be made by the Métis community, and he’s upset the department is not respecting Metis cards or letters from Metis local presidents.
Roth says the result is that in some families, one cousin can hunt, while the other can’t — “just on the whim of Saskatchewan Environment”.
He says some Métis hunters fear prosecution, when they shouldn’t be — especially in the Meadow Lake area.
Earlier this year, a court ruling granted harvesting rights to Métis from that region – but Roth says Métis hunters can’t exercise those rights without being “stopped and harassed”.
Roth calls the situation “unethical”, and is asking the provincial government to negotiate Métis harvesting rights with Métis locals if it insists on not respecting the current leadership of the MNS.
Officials with the provincial government have said in the past that they do not recognize Roth’s claim to the MNS presidency because of last year’s controversial MNS election — and for that reason, the government won’t enter any negotiations with the organization until that matter is resolved.