I am a member of the Haisla Nation. I have heard about the recent Supreme Court Decision (Court of Appeal upholds native fishing rights) regarding the Nuu Chah Nulth people’s, harvesting and sale of ‘Food Fish’.
As has always been the case, we, the indigenous people of this land, simply wish to improve our lot in this world.
At this point in our history we find ourselves still playing the same old game of ‘catch-up’ to so-called, ‘mainstream’ folks.
For coastal indigenous people generally, seafood has always been and continues to be our mainstay as a primary nutritional food source, and as a trade item.
In our history seafood provided the basis of our wealth.
But in recent times, of course, the federal government has been consistent, and persistent, in the practice of its use of ‘Canadian Law’ as both a weapon of subjection, and as a social and psychological deterrent, to prevent indigenous people from accessing our resources – including seafood – and, as a result, from prospering in this world as we rightfully wish to do.
My sense of the situation is that this landmark case has come none too soon.
Each time I see or hear of the department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) interfering with the rightful harvesting practices of indigenous peoples of this land, I automatically recall the image of the DFO craft being willfully and intentionally directed, at high speed, over top of a indigenous owned fishing craft, and I see the indigenous fishermen jumping from their boat into the sea to save their lives.
This to me, is the position the DFO has always held in relation to the indigenous peoples of Canada.
The DFO has always been the action tool of a country that has no clear, accurate and reality-based vision of where it truly stands in relation to the indigenous peoples of Canada.
This Nuu Chah Nulth fishing rights case will serve as a door way, a portal into reality, through which Canada and Canadians will be compelled to pass.