LETTER: Supreme Court of Canada should hear Sinixt hunting case

From reader Ken Wylie

Re: “Government’s appeal in Sinixt case dumbfounding,” Oct. 31

I have been following the progression of the R. vs. Desautel case through the trial and appellate courts.

It’s important to understand that the Crown is almost obliged to have this issue settled once and for all. In other words the real issue is whether these people’s rights can now be asserted by non-resident “foreign” residents (i.e. citizens of the United States) such as to allow them to assert aboriginal title that would bring them within the B.C. treaty negotiation process.

There is no question that the Sinixt people have occupied the Arrow Lakes and Lower Columbia River in Canada for thousands of years. The declaration that the Sinixt were or are extinct is a legal myth, one which has been disproved and properly rejected, in fact and in law. (I always suspected that the Declaration of Extinction made in the 1950s was somehow associated with the Columbia River Treaty negotiations, but concede that’s speculation.)

The issue is not whether these people are “extinct,” which clearly they are not, but whether they are now able to assert claims to ancestral rights and title and, if so, how they will come within this negotiation process.

I believe is is therefore necessary to have this issue adjudicated upon and addressed by the Supreme Court of Canada. This in my view is but another step in the long journey towards truth and reconciliation of the shocking colonialism and treatment of the aboriginal ancestors of this land.

Ken Wylie


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