Peskotomuhkati Chief Hugh Akagi is seen in an undated handout photo. A recent Supreme Court decision about Indigenous rights on the west coast may have implications for First Nations groups who straddle the Maine - New Brunswick border on the east coast. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Cynthia Howland, *MANDATORY CREDIT*

Peskotomuhkati Chief Hugh Akagi is seen in an undated handout photo. A recent Supreme Court decision about Indigenous rights on the west coast may have implications for First Nations groups who straddle the Maine - New Brunswick border on the east coast. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Cynthia Howland, *MANDATORY CREDIT*

Court decision on rights on the west coast may affect Indigenous people in the east

The chief said negotiations need to address issues such as those surrounding Canada’s fisheries

A recent Supreme Court decision about Indigenous hunting rights on the west coast may have implications for First Nations groups who straddle the Maine – New Brunswick border on the opposite side of the country.

The April 23 decision stated an American Indigenous man has a constitutionally protected right to hunt in British Columbia given his people’s historic ties to the region.

Richard Lee Desautel, a U.S. citizen, was charged with hunting without a licence after shooting an elk near Castlegar, B.C., but defended his actions on the basis he had an Aboriginal right to hunt protected by section 35 of Canada’s Constitution Act.

Now members of the Peskotomuhkati Nation, with communities in New Brunswick and Maine, assert their citizens have the same rights that they expect the federal government to honour.

“We know who we are and I really did not need a Supreme Court to tell me who I am or who my people are,” Peskotomuhkati Chief Hugh Akagi said in an interview Saturday.

The chief said negotiations need to address issues such as those surrounding Canada’s fisheries.

“It’s going to come down to some common sense. It’s going to come down to justice for our people. It’s going to come down to respect for treaties,” he said. “That’s the relationship I’m looking for.”

Lawyer Paul Williams, who is negotiating for the Peskotomuhkati, said the court decision is clear.

“It’s one nation, everybody is related, and now the Supreme Court has said it’s one nation for the purpose of Canadian Constitutional recognition and protection as well,” he said.

“We’re going to have to work together quickly and decisively to set up recognition of the entire nation’s fisheries, but at the same time a conservation regime that takes precedence over any commercial rights or food rights.”

Both Williams and Akagi say a deal was reached three years ago that allows band members from Maine to hunt moose in New Brunswick. They said they believe it can be a template for other agreements.

“Let’s take something successful like this moose hunt and build on it,” Akagi said.

Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press

huntingIndigenous

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

Just Posted

Gwen Spencer Hethey is one of four athletes being inducted into the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame this year. Here, she is pictured with her mentor Major Frederick Richardson. (Courtesy of Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame)
Four new names added to Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame

Matt Pettinger, Gwen Spencer Hethey, Peter Lawless and Roger Skillings being inducted

The District of Saanich is accepting nominations for the 2021 Environmental Awards until June 1 at 4 p.m. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Nominations now open for Saanich’s 21st annual Environmental Awards

Awards recognize individuals and organizations making Saanich more sustainable

Rotary Club of Victoria-Harbourside president Angus Macpherson visited the Wear2Start Society boutique in Victoria to present a cheque to the society’s vice-president Alessandra Ringstad (left) and president Angela Mangiacasale. (Courtesy of Wear2Start)
Rotary club donates over $11,000 to Greater Victoria non-profit for women

Wear2Start Society provides clothing for women in need

Adrienne Rogers (LPN) and Tracy McConnell (RN) on the Victoria Hospice Unit. (Photo courtesy of Victoria Hospice)
Victoria Hospice bereavement counsellors dealing with a tsunami of grief

Last year, Victoria Hospice provided end-of-life care to more than 1,000 people

Paddles sit stacked and ready at a rowing regatta on Elk Lake in 2018. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria junior girls rowing team nabs first in national Row to Tokyo challenge

Young Victoria City Rowing Club members row more than 2,250 km

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

Most Read