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GNWT extends share of limited caribou harvest to Metis alliance

Northern News Services
Published Monday, February 9, 2015

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources has allocated 50 caribou tags to the North Slave Metis Alliance as part of an 1,800-animal aboriginal harvest of the Bluenose-East Herd, effective Feb. 9.

"It appears that the GNWT has recognized that the North Slave Metis Alliance people have an aboriginal right to hunt for food on their traditional lands," said alliance president Bill Enge.

In June 2013, Judge Shannon Smallwood ruled in the Supreme Court of the NWT that the North Slave Metis people have an aboriginal right to hunt caribou for food on their traditional lands.

Her ruling defined the organization's membership as falling under Section 35 of the 1982 Constitution Act, which establishes the existing aboriginal and treaty rights of the First Nation, Inuit and Metis peoples of Canada.

Metis inclusion in the section is determined through the Powley Test, developed to define indigenous Metis following a 2003 Supreme Court decision in favour of Metis moose hunters in Ontario.

The North Slave Metis Alliance is currently engaged in a court case against the GNWT for its refusal to supply a share of the formerly limited aboriginal harvest for the Bathurst herd, which has subsequently been suspended for all hunters due to population stress.

"We say that should there ever be another limited harvest of the Bathurst herd, the GNWT must provide us with a share of that herd just like the Tlicho and Yellowknives are getting," said Enge.

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