For Immediate Release:
Métis Nation BC (MNBC) has applied for intervener status in the Supreme Court of Canada case R v Desautel.
Mr. Desautel was charged under the BC Wildlife Act for killing a cow elk in the Arrow Lakes region of British Columbia. Judges in the provincial and summary conviction appeal courts granted an acquittal for Mr. Desautel, notwithstanding he is a member of the Lakes Tribe in Washington State (US). The lower courts held that he was exercising his Aboriginal right to hunt for ceremonial purposes in the traditional territory, which happened to be in Canada, of his Sinixt ancestors.
This is an important case because the BC Court of Appeal decided that members of a present-day Indigenous community situated in Washington State are entitled to exercise constitutionally protected Aboriginal rights within Canada.
MNBC has applied for intervener status in the case for the following reasons:
– MNBC is the federally recognized “Governing Member” of the Métis National Council for the area affected. Numerous other entities have been granted intervener status including the Métis National Council and the Manitoba Métis Federation.
– MNBC has a direct interest in the issues raised in the appeal. Over 2,200 self-identified Métis reside in the Kootenay Region, of which 1,400 are registered citizens of MNBC.
– MNBC is the only Canadian s.35 rights holder to claim the Kootenay region as its traditional territory that is seeking intervener status in this appeal.
Through our intervention in this case, MNBC does not seek to deny s.35 rights to any party that holds these rights validly. Rather, MNBC is always committed to defending the s.35 rights of our citizens and will ensure that every reasonable measure is taken to affirm our s.35 Aboriginal rights.
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MNBC Board of Directors
Métis Nation British Columbia (MNBC) represents nearly 90,000 self-identified Métis people in BC. To date, over 20,000 Métis Citizens are provincially registered with MNBC. The Métis National Council, the Provincial Government of British Columbia and the Federal Government of Canada recognize Métis Nation British Columbia as the Governing Nation for Métis in BC.