Deer hunters worry band council involvement will hurt treaty

(May 23, 2013) — The Turtle Island News has just posted an article, written by staff writer Chase Jarrett, “Deer hunters worry band council involvement will hurt treaty”. Here is the beginning of this text published on their home page:

Ontario is moving to backdoor the Six Nations Confederacy by drawing the elected band council into the annual deer hunts overseen by the Confederacy’s Wildlife and Habitat Authority. The move is an attempt to discredit the Confederacy and negate Haudensaunee treaty rights says Haudenosaunee Wildlife and Habitat Authority (HWHA) spokesman Chester Gibson.“They’re (Ontario) backdooring us to try and get the band recognized,” he said. “We don’t go in there as a band,” he said.

The HWHA began deer harvesting and exercising Haudensaunee hunting rights in 2010 in DundasValley, in Hamilton, Ontario, and for the first time in Short Hills, St. Catharines, Ontario, during the 2012-2013 hunting season. In both parks, a lack of predators has led to an overblown deer population putting strain on the local ecosystems. The HWHA accomodates Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) during their hunts as an effort to help conserve the parks. The deer meat goes to longhouses for ceremonies. Last season 37 deer were taken from DundasValley and seven were taken from Short Hills.

Now Ontario has gone over the HWHA’s head and approached band council, asking for more hunters from Six Nations and New Credit to participate, indicating that more deer need to be taken before if park environments are to become healthy.“Well over 100 deer in there that could be harvested without impacting the herd,” said Paul General, band council’s Wildlife Officer. He said the MNR wants to allow more people to hunt.

In a move to cash in on the successful Confederacy led hunting treaty rights fight, General approached band council with plans to form a committee to look at a potential hunting arrangements at May 13’s Committee of the Whole.“The idea was to open it up to a few more Six Nations residents and anybody else who has treaty territory in this area,” he said. He said hunts could become open invitation. But Gibson isn’t convinced a band-led committee to make this decision, or an open invitation to hunt, are the best ideas.

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