Parks Canada clar­i­fies Jasper Na­tional Park Hunt.

The McLeod River Post - - Front Page - Ian McInnes

Be­tween Oc­to­ber 6 and Oc­to­ber 10, 2017 members of the Sim­pcw First Na­tion took part in a hunt, us­ing firearms we were in­formed, on lands that were con­sid­ered their tra­di­tional ter­ri­tory in Jasper Na­tional Park.

The hunt took place on foot and in­cluded El­ders, youth, men and women. The hunters har­vested three elk, two bighorn sheep and one white-tailed deer. Parks Canada said in a state­ment that the har­vest­ing of th­ese an­i­mals would not im­pact their pop­u­la­tions within the park. We un­der­stand that other First Na­tions, also with tra­di­tional ter­ri­to­ries within Jasper Na­tional Park have been talk­ing to Parks Canada about hunts of their own and that Sim­pcw First Na­tion may be able to hunt again in the fu­ture.

Hunt­ing in Canada’s Na­tional Parks is gen­er­ally, not per­mit­ted and its reg­u­la­tions are clear: “Hunt­ing – firearms. Firearms and Hunt­ing are not per­mit­ted in Na­tional Parks. If you are car­ry­ing a firearm through to an­other des­ti­na­tion it must be un­loaded and se­curely en­cased. Firearms in­clude sling­shots, bows, bb guns, cross bows and paint­ball guns. Hunt­ing car­ries se­ri­ous of­fences in a Na­tional Park. Fire­works are also not per­mit­ted.”

Some of our read­ers con­tacted us re­gard­ing the whys and the where­fores of this hunt and we have ob­tained a state­ment from Parks Canada to clar­ify the mat­ter, which reads as fol­lows:

“The Gov­ern­ment is com­mit­ted to rec­on­cil­i­a­tion and na­tion-to-na­tion re­la­tion­ships with In­dige­nous Peo­ples, based on a recog­ni­tion of rights, re­spect, co-op­er­a­tion, and part­ner­ship.

The Sim­pcw First Na­tion has been com­mu­ni­cat­ing with the Jasper Field Unit for a num­ber of years on their wish to hold a tra­di­tional har­vest on lands that they con­sider to be within their tra­di­tional ter­ri­tory. Parks Canada sup­ported the Sim­pcw First Na­tion’s de­sire to un­der­take the first tra­di­tional har­vest ac­tiv­i­ties within Jasper Na­tional Park.

The tra­di­tional har­vest com­plied with Parks Canada’s man­age­ment prac­tices and reg­u­la­tions, and re­spected the eco­log­i­cal in­tegrity of the na­tional park. Parks Canada is com­mit­ted to a sys­tem of na­tional her­itage places that rec­og­nizes the role of In­dige­nous Peo­ples in Canada and in the tra­di­tional use of th­ese spe­cial places.

Through the Jasper In­dige­nous Fo­rum, Parks Canada works with In­dige­nous part­ners in re-es­tab­lish­ing con­nec­tions with tra­di­tion­ally used lands and waters. More than twenty dif­fer­ent First Na­tions, Non-Treaty First Na­tions, and Métis com­mu­ni­ties from both Al­berta and Bri­tish Columbia, participate in the Jasper In­dige­nous Fo­rum.

If and when other tra­di­tional har­vests are con­tem­plated in Jasper, Parks Canada will work with In­dige­nous com­mu­ni­ties to find the best way that tra­di­tional ac­tiv­i­ties can car­ried out in a safe and sus­tain­able man­ner

Parks Canada is com­mit­ted to de­vel­op­ing a sys­tem of na­tional her­itage places that rec­og­nizes the role of In­dige­nous Peo­ple in Canada and in the tra­di­tional use of th­ese spe­cial places.

Har­vest­ing of big game species for cul­tural and sub­sis­tence pur­poses al­ready oc­curs in na­tional park re­serves and in parks es­tab­lished through a land claim agree­ment.

Parks Canada be­lieves a prop­erly planned and man­aged re-in­te­gra­tion of tra­di­tional har­vest­ing ac­tiv­i­ties into parks like Jasper, where th­ese ac­tiv­i­ties have been banned for decades, will sup­port the eco­log­i­cal in­tegrity goals of the park and fur­ther rec­on­cil­i­a­tion with In­dige­nous Peo­ples. A nat­u­rally func­tion­ing ecosys­tem can ac­com­mo­date tra­di­tional har­vest­ing ac­tiv­i­ties.

Parks Canada is com­mit­ted to de­vel­op­ing a sys­tem of na­tional her­itage places that rec­og­nizes the role of In­dige­nous Peo­ple in Canada and in the tra­di­tional use of th­ese spe­cial places.

In the early years of es­tab­lish­ing Canada’s na­tional her­itage places, In­dige­nous peo­ples were ex­cluded. Over the past decades, Parks Canada has evolved its ap­proach and is work­ing to hon­our In­dige­nous rights and tra­di­tions. The tra­di­tional har­vest com­plied with Parks Canada’s man­age­ment prac­tices and reg­u­la­tions.

The Su­per­in­ten­dent has the abil­ity to au­tho­rize a tra­di­tional har­vest for park man­age­ment pur­poses and a har­vest­ing agree­ment was de­vel­oped with the Sim­pcw based on the prin­ci­ples of con­ser­va­tion, pub­lic safety, and con­nec­tion to a tra­di­tional ter­ri­tory. This agree­ment served as a per­mit from the Field Unit Su­per­in­ten­dent for a har­vest to be con­ducted with as­so­ci­ated use of firearms. This is con­sis­tent with sim­i­lar agree­ments with other In­dige­nous groups in na­tional park re­serves or in other na­tional parks for for hy­per abun­dant species man­age­ment.”

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