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Judge rules First Nations from outside of Saskatchewan have constitutional right to hunt

Willow Lake in the Edehzhie Protected Area is shown in this undated handout photo. It's where elders go to hunt, where children hear their stories by the campfire. And after a deal signed Wednesday between local First Nations and the federal government, it's likely to stay that way. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Bill Carpenter
Summary

A judge ruled that First Nations hunters from outside Saskatchewan have a constitutional right to hunt in the province

The ruling comes after a group of hunters from Ontario were charged with unlawful hunting in October 2018

REGINA – Indigenous leaders are celebrating a court ruling that says First Nations hunters from outside Saskatchewan have a constitutional right to hunt in the province and don’t require a licence.

The ruling was made after a group of hunters from the Six Nations reserve in Ontario was charged with unlawful hunting offences in October 2018.

An agreed statement of facts says some of the group’s members were hunting for food in Moose Mountain Provincial Park, located about two hours from Regina near the Manitoba border.

Regina Judge Doug Kovatch says the issue was whether the group was exercising its rights under the Saskatchewan Natural Resources Transfer Agreement, which grants treaty First Nations the ability to hunt, fish and trap food on all unoccupied Crown land and other land.

The decision outlines how the Crown argued First Nations living in Saskatchewan and within the boundaries of treaties 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 10 can hunt anywhere in the province.

The Crown questioned why the province would have agreed to extend treaty hunting rights to First Nations living outside of Saskatchewan, and the agreement didn’t intend to open it up more broadly.