Lawyers for two Saskatchewan Métis men are set to argue that their clients have protected hunting and fishing Rights.
Warren Boyer was cited for fishing for food on Chitek Lake located about 60 km southeast of Meadow Lake and approximately 24-30 kilometers directly south of the most southerly end of Green Lake, which lake and hamlet lie adjacent to the historic Carlton – Green Lake Trail in March 2014.
At the time of his detention, Boyer invoked his Aboriginal right to fish for food under section 35 of the Constitution.
Oliver Poitras was cited for hunting for food at or near what is known as the “Sundance Fire Guard Road”, approximately 37 km south of Meadow Lake, in November 2012.
He too invoked his right to hunt for food pursuant to his Aboriginal right to do so within his traditional territory which falls within the regional historic rights-bearing Métis community of northwest Saskatchewan.
In determining whether Métis have hunting and fishing rights to the area, the court relied on historical surveying of settlements during the establishment of Treaty 6, between 1876 to 1881.
During the Provincial court hearing of Boyer, the Crown argued that there were First Nations people living in the Chitek or Pelican Lake area, but no Métis.
While the defense argued that there were Métis in the area around 1878 and 1884, the court found there was not a Métis settlement at Pelican Lake prior to the European arrival with the Hudson Bay Post in 1892. Boyer’s claim was denied and he was found guilty.
In the hearing of Poitras, he successfully argued that his ancestral family dates back to Ile a la Crosse in 1858.
Poitras stated he was hunting on the Sundance Fireguard Road by Alcott Creek, approximately 37 kilometers south of Meadow Lake, a place where he said his father trapped.
However the court ruled that the area he was hunting in was not included in the survey of land settlement under Treaty 6, thus, not granting him hunting and Rights.
While the Provincial Court recognizes the Daniels Supreme Court decision 2016, which held that the Métis are “Indians” for purposes of s. 91(24) of the Constitution Act, 1867, it said it could not apply in these cases.
Oral arguments are set to begin this morning.