Friday, September 22, 2017 – For immediate Release
On Friday, September 15, 2017, an Alberta Fish and Wildlife Officer entered a Conklin Métis Community Culture Camp and seized a number of fish being prepared as a learning experience for Métis youth. The fish were taken off the smoking rack and thrown into garbage bags. The Métis Nation of Alberta is appalled by these events.
Teaching Métis cultural values and practices to our young people is crucial to the future of the Métis Nation. Métis cultural camps are designed to be a safe environment in which we can do this. We had hoped that the time had come when Alberta’s enforcement officers would encourage and support our efforts to preserve and transmit Métis culture. Unfortunately, as these events show, we are not there yet.
The Métis Nation of Alberta fully supports all Métis people in Alberta who exercise their right to hunt, fish, trap, and gather for food and cultural purposes. We have reached out to Conklin Métis Local #193 and the harvesters involved in this incident. We will work with them to address the issue, including providing legal support as needed.
The Métis Nation of Alberta has always maintained its opposition to the current Government of Alberta Métis Harvesting Policy, unilaterally imposed on rights bearing Métis citizens and this incident is a prime example of why we remain opposed.
Honorable Richard Feehan, Alberta Minister of Indigenous Relations, has apologized for the seizure of the fish at the Conklin Métis Culture Camp and we are encouraged by his words. The Métis Nation of Alberta has committed to working collaboratively with Alberta to review the province’s Métis harvesting policy and to facilitate recognition and respect for Métis rights. This incident, however, again highlights the need for serious improvements in the way the province deals with Métis harvesters. Métis people in Alberta must be allowed to exercise our rights and express our culture without fear of harassment or recrimination.
For more information, please contact Amy Quintal – MNA Harvesting Liaison:
firstname.lastname@example.org or (780) 455 – 2200