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“I Want to Eat Caribou Before I Die”

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Presentation on theme: "“I Want to Eat Caribou Before I Die”"— Presentation transcript:

1 “I Want to Eat Caribou Before I Die”
Chief Roland Willson, West Moberly First Nations National Claims Research Workshop , Fort St John, British Columbia, September 17th-19th, 2013

2 "If a caribou needs to be sacrificed for the sake of energy independence, I say, 'Mr. Caribou, maybe you need to take one for the team.' "— Sarah Palin, speaking to the annual meeting of the Safari Club International in Reno, Nev., Jan. 29, 2011.

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5 Spirituality and Culture
Vision Quests Dunne-za Dreamers

6 Loss of Use Source of Food Clothing Art Tools
Elements of the Caribou used for Medicine Habitat: Terrestrial and Arboreal Lichen used as Medicine Transmission of Knowledge Secondary Impacts: higher dependence on other species, less use of other species

7 Like “Bugs” on the Land

8 Government Worldview BC’s Best Management Practices
Do not reduce the terrestrial lichen ground cover Do not reduce the arboreal lichen; Do not create disturbances which will disturb/displace caribou from the area Do not create improved predator or human access Canada’s Species at Risk Act Recovery Plan: due June 2007 Threatened: “means a wildlife species that is likely to become an endangered species if nothing is done to reverse the factors leading to its extirpation or extinction”. Critical Habitat: “means the habitat that is necessary for the survival or recovery of a listed wildlife species and that is identified as the species’ critical habitat in the recovery strategy or in an action plan for the species”.

9 In-Practice

10 Save the Last 11 Caribou, Court Orders
The Treaty protects the right to “exercise meaningfully traditional hunting practices”, which means more than merely hunting for food – as BC contended. We have a Treaty right to harvest caribou in accordance to our traditional seasonal round, meaning all cultural uses are protected from “forced interference”. Court: “I conclude that a balancing of the treaty rights of Native peoples with the rights of the public generally, including the development of resources for the benefit of the community as a whole, is not achieved if caribou herds in the affected territories are extirpated”. Since BC did not meaningfully consult or reasonably accommodate our cultural rights, the permits were suspended for 90 days. The Court then ordered BC to implement a “a reasonable, active plan for the protection of the habitat and augmentation of the caribou herd, which took in account the views of Elders and Scientists.

11 Comments on application by First Coal Corporation for exploration activities on the range of the Burnt/Pine caribou population. Dr. Dale Seip, Wildlife Ecologist, Northern Interior Forest Region, Prince George September 25, 2008 Conclusion: This proposal will directly destroy core winter range of a Threatened caribou herd. It is also possible that it will displace caribou from a significantly larger area of core habitat. If mining expands to additional areas of the Goodrich property in the future, a very large proportion of the Burnt/Pine caribou winter range will be impacted. It is questionable if the proposed mitigation measures will do much to reduce those impacts. The proposed destruction of core caribou habitat will compromise the recovery of caribou in the area.

12 A Caribou Plan or a Wolf Culling Plan?
Knowledge Team Report: Scientists and Elders call for the protection of all critical habitat (core and high quality habitat) BC Cabinet’s Decision: Tell the Caribou to go elsewhere, and kill all of the wolves and reduce moose populations in the area View of BC’s Caribou Expert: “technically impossible” Government-to-Government Process: A Question of Bad Faith? “The impact on caribou is not clear. For clarity, the province is not proposing…” Option 3 (and most likely not Option 4, which was added later, as it is more restrictive than Option 3), “but seriously examining” Options 1 and 2. “Until we get more information, we don’t know which option best addresses the Treaty rights in the area”. Since the draft PT Report “hasn’t been reviewed by West Moberly yet, we want to keep the distribution of this limited.  I would ask if you could: Give any early feedback on the document; anticipated questions, issues, risks.” (Kriese, 2010: ILMB)

13 Population Status of Threatened Caribou Herds in the Central Rockies Ecoregion of British Columbia 2001, Dr. Dale Seip and Elena Jones Summary Population parameters are summarized in Table 10. With the exception of the Quintette herd, calf recruitment and adult mortality rates indicated that all the caribou herds are declining. This conclusion is supported by population census data for the Moberly, Burnt-Pine and Kennedy Siding herds. The Scott herd is adjacent to the Kennedy Siding and Moberly herds, so is likely to be experiencing a similar population trend. The Narraway herd is also declining (Alberta Sustainable Resource Development and Alberta Conservation Association 2010), but the Hart Ranges herd has been stable over recent years (Heard et al. 2010). The Graham herd has experienced a major decline since the 1980’s, but may have been stable over the past decade (Culling & Culling 2009).

14 “CNRL’s Peejay Oil Field Pipeline leak’s in the Peejay Boreal Caribou Habitat”

15 “Wind development proposed for the Graham Caribou Herd Critical Wintering Habitat”

16 West Moberly sought judicial review of BC’s decision
West Moberly sought judicial review of BC’s decision. In the spring of 2010, the lower court held that West Moberly’s Treaty right to hunt necessarily included specific protection for caribou, given that caribou are a species of central significance to West Moberly’s traditional way of life. As of May 25, 2011, a majority of the BC Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal, upholding the decision of the court below.

17 Current Population Status 425 Caribou Left
Herd Population Size Trend Comments Scott 35 Unknown N/A Kennedy Siding 41 Stable 120 in 2007 Moberly 23 Declining 191 in 1995 Burnt – Pine 1> Declining/ Extirpated 13 in 2008 Quintette 175 Calf recruitment < Adult mortality Bearhole-Redwillow 50 < Adult mortality Narraway 100

18 What's left of the Quintet Herd Habitat

19 The End result of BC’s plan for the Burnt-Pine Herd!

20 All the Fish in the Williston Reservoir System are contaminated with Methyl Mercury

21 Federally Protected Fontas Bison

22 Environment Canada Announces , “Endangered Sage Grouse to be Protected by Emergency Orders”! Currently less than 150 left

23 Thank You!


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