Challenge 1: Advancing Reconciliation with Indigenous peoples



How to advance reconciliation with Indigenous peoples in wildlife management and habitat conservation:

Our Opportunities:

  • Build on and enhance existing collaboration on wildlife management and habitat conservation.
  • Develop and implement new approaches for government-to-government collaboration and decision-making.
  • Update programs and policies to advance the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action, and the results of the Tsilhqot’in Nation decision.
  • Other solutions developed in collaboration with Indigenous peoples.

There have been many comments regarding Indigenous harvesting rights.  First Nations have a protected right to hunt and fish for food, social and ceremonial purposes under section 35 of the Canadian Constitution.  Comments about changing the constitution are outside the scope of this engagement. Comments on this discussion forum are expected to follow the conventions of polite discourse and should be carried on in a constructive and good-natured manner, comments that may be interpreted as racist or that focus on ancestry will not be approved or posted.

This discussion forum welcomes candid dialogue and diverse views, however, all comments must adhere to the Moderation Policy. The Moderation Policy is intended to ensure that all British Columbians feel welcome to participate in a respectful exchange of information and ideas in a polite way and do not feel excluded or discriminated against by other’s comments.

What Do You Think?

  • What programs and policies are most important to advance meaningful and lasting reconciliation with Indigenous peoples and help implement UNDRIP?

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116 responses to “Challenge 1: Advancing Reconciliation with Indigenous peoples

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    [-] Trevor

    I think we need to stop worrying so much about First Nations reconciliation and start doing what’s best for wildlife populations. Letting them hunt animals at vulnerable times has a huge effect on numbers. Hunting moose and elk cows without any type of system to track numbers has also had a hugely negative effect on populations. So let’s stop worrying about First Nations rights and start worrying about what’s best for all Canadians.

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    [-] Dean

    All people in this country or Province should have the same rules and regulations when it comes to wildlife fishing and hunting no matter race or religion

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    [-] Jake

    A return to land use planning is needed for the landscape level approach needed to effectively manage wildlife and conserve habitat.

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    [-] Ray

    To be apart of the solution
    If there’s any controlled burns or evasive species work party’s ask them to join in

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    [-] Chris

    Stop the racism and separate discussions.
    Bring all parties together to discuss.
    We are all Canadians and are all equal

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    [-] Erin

    This is a really important piece of wildlife and habitat and I’m glad to see it’s being addressed. Government needs to be working really collaboratively and cooperatively with Indigenous for wildlife management to be effective. Consultation styles need to be specific to Indigenous communities, and above all else, must be conducted with respect.

    For example, the Coastal First Nations of the Great Bear Rainforest have long recognized the importance of protecting grizzly bears, had their own laws of protection, and were conducting a lot of research. The previous Provincial Government did not respect this, but thankfully consultation with First Nations has helped to change this practice.

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    [-] matt

    “were conducting a lot of research..”

    Out of curiosity, What was the research? Thank you.

    In regards to wildlife management, we (collectively) should be focused on what is best for our wildlife.

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    [-] Yinta

    Thank you a voice of reason. Indigenous people need to be recognized for sustaining our ecological past. For ten thousand years Indigenous people sustained this land. In with in influx of settlers here we are.
    Lets work with Indigenous peoples for lasting effective solutions. They know.

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    [-] David

    That sounds an awful lot like a repetition of the “noble savage” arguement. Just because someone is born First Nations or is part of the First Nations community does not automatically mean they are somehow better equipped than “the rest of us” to manage wildlife or engage in ecologically sound principles.

    Canada is a multi-cultural society and many of those cultures revere the environment in their own way.

    What we do need to acknowledge is that many Indigenous groups have a long history of observing wildlife and the environment local to them. We must to a better job of acknowledging this, reviewing the oral histories scientifically, and if proven accurate amending on our strategies accordingly.

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    [-] G.B.

    Time to regulate the harvest of all species by indigenous hunters whether licensed or not. Cannot have effective Wildlife Conservation Policy without all the harvest data including harvest by all indigenous persons including for ceremonial and social purposes.

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    [-] Greg

    How about some equality between all user groups and stop with single sided talks, sit down with “ALL” user groups to figure out the best way to move forward and protect wildlife and habitat. Working with one group will only continue to degrade the environment and do nothing else for it. All user groups want to see a change in the downward spiral of our wildlife and their habitat, not just aboriginals, enough with creating a divide between a small user group and the rest of British Columbians, we are all Canadians.

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    [-] William

    I believe proper accountability by indigenous people needs to come into play. Wasteful harvesting without consequences is the norm. I believe most Canadians agree with the first nations right to hunt and fish but not to be wasteful. Missing is consequences of wasteful actions.

    I believe we need to engage leaders in the First Nations communities, by asking them for solutions to the shared problems.

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    [-] Scott

    I believe that when it comes to wildlife, First Nations reconciliations shouldn’t be used against common sense science based management. I believe that small indigenous communities should be able to harvest traditionaly, though should follow guidelines, keep track of harvest numbers, and work together with other stake holders who are trying to better habitat and wildlife numbers for everyone. When females are harvested out of hurting populations, and there is no harvest record, how is that good for wildlife? To go forward and have healthy stable populations there should really be one rule for all residends of Canada. Having one special group with special rules will not help but continue to put a wedge in decision making. Generally you can harvest enough wild meat through our current regulations to feed your family for the year. We have many opportunities, so let’s keep these opportunities and work together.

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    [-] Alan

    Indigenous peoples have no corner on proper managament of wildlife and habiitat. They can make the same mistakes as anyone else. All user groups should be involved with habitat and wildlife being the top priority and land and resource use being secondary. Science and sound management (common sense) should take precedence over any particular private group and no one group or organization having any more say than another.

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    [-] Greg

    One law for all.
    Two tiered systems only create conflict and ill will.

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    [-] dean

    till we all hunt under 1 rule you wont fix any wildlife issues, if you dont account for half our hunting community you dont even have a clue what true numbers for populations and harvests are

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    [-] Ken

    Sound wildlife harvest practices are a must. Indiscriminate harvesting regardless of age, sex and numbers is extremely harmful to wildlife populations and it must stop.

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    [-] Adam

    I would like to see programs and policies that involve collaboration and dialogue with Indigenous peoples, hopefully move away from partitioning of, and competition for, declining wildlife and habitat resources, and towards an approach that looks to restore and improve these levels for use by all those who reside in BC – this is a perspective shift that should be fully compatible, and even beneficial to, the UNDRIP and Tsilhqot’in Nation decisions. This will become even more significant in the future as habitat and wildlife populations experience unpredictable shifts in response to climate change.

    Programs that support wildlife and habitat studies across all stakeholders, including recent collaborations in controlled burns, wildlife surveys and population / habitat studies, are important, but I think the outcome of this collaboration must be consistent and well-communicated policies of all governments in how the results of collaboration are to be interpreted by both Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples who are users of the wildlife and habitat, and not just policy makers. This is, and has always been, lacking in British Columbia. With respect to titled and traditional Indigenous lands, there need to be more programs in place that recognize Indigenous title and negotiate outreach and a demonstrate a willingness to collaborate from government and non-Indigenous users of the land, with direct support and collaboration in surrounding non-titled lands, while still maintaining the benefit of non-Indigenous residents necessary to engage and develop shared involvement and stewardship.

    The recent action by the Secwépemc people in the Elephant Hill fire area regarding the regulation of harvest of morels and an attempt to minimize the ecological and social impact of morel pickers (well documented previously as being very destructive) might be seen as a first step where resources are able to be shared and cultivated for the benefit of all – however, it is not clear to me if the BC provincial government has formalized this agreement to recognize the benefit to the Secwépemc peoples and to the natural preservation of the Elephant Hill area, and what, if any, conflict resolutions have been agreed to in the event that the morel picking regulations of the Secwépemc are not followed.

    This might have been a great opportunity for the BC government to collaborate and support with policies on non-Indigenous participation, and perhaps offer / provide support in form of conservation officers, or law enforcement, or biologist funding to mitigate conflicts and work to maximize the benefits for all parties. Instead, my perception is that the BC government is turning a blind eye to these and other assertions of sovereignty by Indigenous peoples and is therefore intentionally or unintentionally leaving conflict resolution and negotiation between individual Indigenous and non-Indigenous BC residents who are directly impacted – this is irresponsible and not constructive to any kind of reconciliation.

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    [-] Ethel

    Vital piece of the work.

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    [-] Delbert

    As stewards of our lands, true reconciliation is the government to government talks (ie; chief and minister) not through Watersheds where one person or a handful of people make decisions on the fate of forests, lands, water and animals.

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    [-] Darren

    1). “Develop and implement new approaches for government-to-government collaboration and decision-making”: My ancestry is Anglo-European/Cree. Although I’ve an easy time connecting with the Metis Nation of BC as a governance body, I find it quite difficult to understand which First Nations Organizations represent individual Nations.

    I’m confused about First Nations Territory as well.

    I can’t seem to wrap my head around who represents First Nation Governments when it comes to any dialogue, collaboration, or negotiation with Settler Society’s Government, the Government of British Columbia.

    Therefore: Developing Settler Government and First Nation Government processes of engagement, with terms of reference seems step one to me.

    In developing a standardized process of engagement between Governments, another need that could be included here is education for citizens so we are clear in understanding Settler Society’s relationship with First Nations and Metis in BC. The intent of such education would be to provide the information citizens (all) in BC need, as we cross a threshold on way to reconciliation.

    2). “Update programs and policies to advance the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action, and the results of the Tsilhqot’in Nation decision”: Implementation of UNDRIP in consultation with First Nations Governments supports what I’ve identified as the first priority. The intent of UNDRIP must be from which we develop a defined relationship between Settler Government and First Nations Governments.

    3). “Build on and enhance existing collaboration on wildlife management and habitat conservation”: If you consider points one and two as a foundation, it is upon this foundation that we could then build-upon existing collaborative processes, and/or draft together new processes that frame the relationship between Settler Society/Government and First Nations Society/Government relative to wildlife conservation and management.

    However this is all done, it’s important that all citizens of BC are rightly informed. We are finally defining what our relationship will be. Wildlife Management and Conservation in BC, supported rightly with our First Nations ‘Indigenous Ways of Knowing’ is what I wish to see take shape.

    However this is all done, it’s important that all citizens of BC are rightly informed. We all need the facts, clearly stated in plain language now as we grow through reconciliation processes towards the future.

    With factual information that clearly informs citizens of BC, we might better avoid the never-ending debates we seem to get locked into, and with facts, we’re best served-citizens will be informed, with right information-diminishing the uselessness of citizen-battles via positions constructed based on mere opinions.

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    [-] John

    We must first determine what the First Nations want insofar as reconciliation…otherwise the process is a never ending waste of time.

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    [-] Nick

    As you can see from the other comments, lack of rules for FN hunters causes alot of resentment from others. Having a group of hunters that doesn’t play by the same rules also makes it hard to manage wildlife, it throws a wild card into the mix incentivises poor hunting practices. However FNs have treaty rights that can’t be ignored and deep connections with there territories. A compromise needs to be found. I think tribal governments should be given a role in management, for example distributing a set number of tags to thier members and deciding what can be hunted where on thier territories. On the other hand FN hunters should have to abide by the same rules as everyone else.

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    [-] Clare

    For millennia, First Nations of North America used prescribed burns in order to enhance wildlife habitat throughout the grasslands regions. It was only the last century where huge resources have been allocated to suppress wildfire at all costs in order to maximize timber production throughout BC. This has resulted in forest encroachment and habitat has suffered.

    Now, we need First Nations to lead and be a major part of prescribed burning in the spring season. First Nations need to be engaged in burning initiatives and lead the charge. Using First Nation’s traditional fire practices are key to better Wildlife habitat and reconciliation.

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    [-] Adam

    First, we need to clearly define the wishes of the Aboriginal Community. What is it they want from the , “Reconciliation “, process with regards to wildlife management. Then, we need to see if the rest of the province shares these goals or if the interests of other resource user groups are even possibly compatible with First Nations goals. Going further without that basic understanding between all parties is bound to be a waste of time, resources and ultimately futile. I’ll assume, based on the right of Aboriginal peoples to hunt and fish, that they are every bit as interested in increasing and maintaining high fish and game populations as other major resource users.

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    [-] Annie

    Unfortunately this one is going to be difficult as the government has not demonstrated good intent in things like Site C, which will impact Treaty rights to hunt and fish as well as threatening many species that are the foundation for Indigenous cultures. Logging efforts are similarly threatening caribou habitat. I think efforts must be clear and not duplicitous: saying you want greater relationship WHILE acting to undercut Aboriginal rights and Treaty rights to culturally significant animals is no longer going to fly. Start cooperative agreements on wildlife monitoring and restoration activities with Indigenous governments. Ensure the resources are there for meaningful participation in habiatt protection AND restoration. Respect the cultures.

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    [-] Judy

    I believe that there is a wealth of traditional knowledge from First Nations about wildlife that is currently untapped and unrecognized by the province and scientific researchers. There seems to be some change, but it is slow. BC has only been colonized for 200 years and yet First Nations have been here for thousands of years. I also believe that there is controversy and disagreement when it comes to provincial and federal management programs the rights of First Nations to traditional hunting territories. I have recently seen this controversy play out in Jasper National Park where a band was allowed to come into the park, their traditional lands, and hunt a restricted number of elk. I disagreed with this, as it was implemented by the federal government in the name of reconciliation, because the National Parks do not allow hunting and are the last areas of the country where animals can reside in wilderness habitat without human disturbance. I hope a balance can be achieved. I do consider the wildlife has to take precedence over indigenous rights in the case where hunting, trapping or fishing may impact the sustainability of the wildlife. I would like to see peer reviewed studies that support a sustainable hunting, trapping or fishing policy for First Nations.

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    [-] Renel

    An overabundance of foliage-eating ungulates harms the biodiversity objectives of Parks. Allowing a limited elk hunt, is probably good for both the vegetation and the elk population. Parks are confronting forest health problems and herbivore overabundance, and cannot work towards correcting the problem because of their own rules. So it is actually in the best interest of the park’s objectives to allow limited hunting.

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    [-] Kelowna

    First Nations should be required to reports harvests.
    Round table discussion with WFN and Regional interests to open up lines of communication on a equal level for productive, positive and progressive forward movement in the wildlife conservation effort.

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    [-] Line

    – Increased monitoring is an absolute must. Partnerships with universities, First Nations or Indigenous groups, and other non-government organizations can provide the workforce if the government provides the oversight and funding.
    – Wholistic ecosystems approaches need to be considered – including the impact industry is having. Quick fixes and “management” of individual species is not effective in the long-term.
    – The precautionary principle should be applied when uncertainty exists in high volumes.
    – Science-based decision making does not mean ethics have no place in discussions.
    – Government science should be open to the same review and publishing processes as external research to ensure accountability.

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    [-] frances

    Some First Nations have shown amazing capacity to manage and steward wildlife and protect habitat.
    I’m looking at the Central Coast where a couple of guide/hunting licenses have been purchased by conservation groups and First Nations that protect wildlife and habitat. Buying and managing licenses might be a more financially viable option than purchasing vast tracts of land.
    Whatever, there needs to be the capacity to enforce protection, and that is rather pitiful right now.

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    [-] Joel

    Let’s start focusing on working together with First Nations to rebuild fish and wildlife in B.C. unregulated hunting must stop in order for al British Columbians to enjoy wildlife viewing, hunting etc

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    [-] H.Barber

    To really be able to Manage our wildlife populations, We need accurate harvest data. This includes AL First Nations people. Mandatory reporting by all users.

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    [-] Glenn

    To really be able to Manage our wildlife populations, We need accurate harvest data. This includes AL First Nations people. Mandatory reporting by all users.

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    [-] Alexander

    I believe strongly that we all have a shared desired outcome when it comes to protecting habitat and animal populations. I think that everyone wants to an overall increase in the amount of protected habitat for BC’s native animals and for the overall populations of animals to increase to a healthy and sustainable level. I think everyone can get behind that common goal.

    As a non-First Nations hunter, I want to see partnerships forged towards that common goal where there is broad public support for the health of habitat and animal populations. Caribou and steelhead are in crisis in BC and we are at risk of watching them blink out of existence. The number one priority needs to be the long term restoration and protection of habitat for the purpose of sustaining not only the plant and animal biodiversity, but also sustaining First Nations harvest for subsistence and ceremonial purposes, as well as non-First Nations harvest. Tourism and resource extraction industries need to join with First Nations and non-First Nations hunters in seeing the value in protecting and restoring habitat for the purpose of ensuring the long-term stability and sustainability of wildlife populations. Overall annual mortality from both First Nations and non-First Nations hunting accounts for single digit percentages in most species, whereas habitat loss due to logging and the road density that follows, urban sprawl and development, and other resource extraction industries accounts for the overall downward trend which can be observed in the populations of many species.

    In the case of of the threatened herds of caribou, hunting was halted decades ago, but their declines continue rapidly due to the failure to protect their food source by logging the trees which bear lichen.

    Everyone should be able to get behind a common goal to protect and restore habitat for the purpose of long term sustainable biodiversity in plants and animal species in BC. It is our responsibility to future generations not to destroy their natural heritage due to inaction on habitat and wildlife issues.

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    [-] George

    In order to reconcile with First Nations the province has to educate the general public in First Nations right . A lot of people do not understand these laws and constitutional protected rights . As a First Nation I have had many many discussions in this issue with other people and it’s all ways been a negative experience for me . I ya to educate people as to what our rights are but people don’t understand there are a few of us First Nations that want to work with every other user group to see wild life and enjoyment for all user groups . First Nations have to be at the table to help make decisions when it comes to wild life in bc . There are a lot is issues we all face we may as well work together to move forward . Education is the key because there is a real
    Lack of understanding .

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    [-] Jeff

    The only way to approach any issue in BC or Canada and maintain credibility and evidence based progress, is to leave race out of it. What happened in the past has nothing to do with the scientific management of wildlife now. The most qualified and knowledgable people should be making decisions based on input from all BC residents with equal consideration.

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    [-] Hunter

    I believe actively educating all user groups of First Nations rights and title may go a long way in providing the ground work for reconciliation. There’s a misunderstanding of where and how First Nations rights may be used and where they may not be. We need consultation within areas of concern from the government, and discussions need to be had about these areas. If a population is low or at risk of being too low to provide equal hunting opportunity for all then the relationship needs to be established to meet and say something. This doesn’t mean diminishing first nations rights and title as it’s protected by the constitution, but it means we need to recognize when concerns are significant enough we can alter our harvesting methods to address them as one united group of hunters who utilize the same resources. Establishing the relationship can’t be done by battling to abolish First Nations rights and should be approached as developing a group of representatives from all usergroups who are capable of speaking of the concerns and how to address them without consistently coming back to the idea that there needs to be one law for all hunters.

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    [-] Dean

    Everyone hunting or fishing should follow the same rules and regulations. Tracking harvest data is the only real way to know what is being taken out of the wild. Hunting or fishing at vulnerable times of the year makes the taking of the resource easier and unfair for others.

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    [-] Ken

    There really isn’t any belles or whistles, or smoking gun in “reconciliation “. Bottom line we are all equal. No greater, no worse. We are equal. And as such, indigenous peoples deserve an equal representation in developing wildlife management policies.

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    [-] gerry

    Give first nations more control of recovery programs for species at risk. Currently industry and government are making management decisions which compromise the long term viability of SAR and the balance of decisions are tipped towards economic interests rather than the application of a precautionary approach. These processes are labeled “recovery strategys” when in fact they merely delay extirpation a little longer and are designed to maintain status quo and give the appearance of action. First nations have a longer track record and higher vested interest in maintaining wildlife within their territories than bureaucrats and industry reps. Case in point are the recovery strategies for coastal goshawk, marbled murrelet and spotted owl. All of these populations continue to decline despite “recovery strategies” which have been negotiated under industry veto for almost two decades.

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    [-] Dylan

    As a hunting community we need to shift away from blaming the indigenous and commercial hunters for the decline in wildlife. We need our government to protect critical wildlife habitat and increase funding for wildlife management. Properly funded wildlife management will means more wildlife to support the commercial hunting industry, support Indigneous reconciliation, and ensure hunting opertunities for all British Columbian. Let’s all advocate for improved wildlife management.

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    [-] Holly

    Ask for help from the people that are out in the wildlife that aren’t hunters or guides. Like photographers that see how the animals live and what they need. Ask for unbias opinions outside of the area that isn’t on a certain side. Contact zoos that have caribou and see what they need. New leadership new eyes that can refresh as a whole on what needs to be done.

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    [-] Keaton

    I am very pleased that the government is working towards advancing UNDRIP. In order for more meaningful consultation to occur, I believe that one of the most important things that can be done is to boost the capacity of First Nations to respond the avalanche of referrals that many of them receive. It is unfair to expect a First Nation to be able to respond to hundreds of detailed, technical development proposals when they do not have the capacity to do so. They should not always be left trying to play an impossible game of catch-up. Steps in the right direction are encouraging, but there is still a long way to go!

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    [-] Jody

    I think that the sustainable management of resources should govern all people because if resources are over-harvested by any group, indigenous or non-indigenous, they will be depleted and many people and other species will suffer as a result.

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    [-] Bill

    We need to collaboratively review all programs and policies currently in enacted in Canada and BC and change, delete or amend policies and acts in order for proper reconciliation to be successful. Quite a few people have stated that we are all Canadians, indigenous and non-indigenous, but with current legislation and policies as they are, I an Indigenous person am not accepted as being equal to the new people on the land calling themselves Canadian.
    The traditional knowledge for wild life conservation which is freely available from all Indigenous peoples are ignored by the same bureaucratic system whom are mismanaging all wildlife, land and water.

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    [-] Steven

    Better information is important for proper decision making.
    Implementing policies requiring first nations to report game harvested / cut tags (without infringing on their rights to harvest) would be a good step in including first nations in collaboration on wild game management and in the decision making process.

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    [-] Ray

    Government to government agreements will facilitate open and pragmatic conversations with First Nation’s while limiting conflict, creating a more collaborative environment. Currently limitations occur that enable wildlife management practitioners to support land use changes required to be effective, i.e. the tools within the wildlife act are not sufficient for land managers and require legislative changes. FRPA review to find ways to better enable land use planning that meets wildlife management needs.

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    [-] Nathan

    I believe McLeod Lake Indian Band helps facilitate the operation of the Kennedy Siding Caribou herd feeding program., with Douglas Heard.
    We are currently looking for capacity funding to help offset costs for ongoing population monitoring data.
    We would also like to suggest this as an opportunity to create a program in the Quintette range to help offset the footprint of a new emerging coal extraction industry now in the works.
    Please feel free to advise
    Mussi
    Nathan Prince
    McLeod Lake Indian Band Land Referral
    Office: 250 788 2227 Mobile: 250 617 5930

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    [-] James

    Government must become the authoritative source for data collected and disseminated. When people believe in the integrity of the data a more valued discussion will occur.

    Everyone that uses the land is a stakeholder in what goes on, on the land. Indigenous people should be invited to sit on various committees and advisory groups to provide their unique perspective on land use and wildlife management.

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    [-] Lisa

    I think “other solutions developed in collaboration with Indigenous peoples” will be the most productive.

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    [-] Sharon

    Including indigenous peoples in discussions around land, water and wildlife issues is important. Their historical and cultural knowledge on these and other matters is relevant to our society as a whole today.

    It is disturbing that there is not a place for indigenous people at the negotiating table regarding the Columbia River Treaty. They were very negatively affected by the flooding of the valley, and yet at this milestone discussion they are excluded. This is an example of what not to do in order to achieve reconciliation. It is disrespectful.

    Indigenous people should also be involved in the developing of hunting regulations including how the balance of all species and their habitat is needed for a healthy wildlife population. Looking at saving one species from extinction without using the lens of the dependence, interdependence and interconnectedness that each species has on the other, is doing so with narrow vision.

    When we fail to consider the value of our wildlife, and their vital habitat, we also fail ourselves. How we treat wildlife and their natural habitat is a direct reflection of how we treat our own species. Truth & Reconciliation is one place to look. Then there are our inner cities. Indigenous people have a history of looking after each other in larger family units.

    There is a lot to be learned from indigenous people. Time to include them.

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    [-] Karen

    Programming lead by indigenous people in the area provides authentic connections and builds understanding. Xatsull is an example of a site with local indigenous interpretive staff from the area where I have experienced an authentic experience that furthered my understanding of reconciliation challenges and where I experienced meaningful engagement.

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    [-] Mike

    I believe that reconciliation and consultation with First Nations is a critical part of wildlife recovery in BC. I also believe that the process should be open and transparent and inclusive of legitimate stakeholder groups in a roundtable format while protecting First Nation’s rights. Transparency and inclusiveness will allow all groups to have meaningful input without alienating any one group.

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    [-] George

    Good day . It’s good t see this discussion taking place and reading some one the comments I agree with most of the comments made . First Nations need to be at the table and part of the discussions when it comes to wild life management across the province . The bc gov makes rules and regulations with out any input from First Nations and we need to be at the table and included in management decisions . As a band councillor I look forward to being part of this process and working to make sure we have wild life for my children and every ones else in the province we all call home .

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    [-] Robert

    Select more/larger areas of land for wildlife conservation refuges that are able to support high density of ungulates. They should be selected in areas that will allow overflow into legal hunting areas. These areas should be off limits to any hunting and and any recreation or development that would displace wildlife.

    Conservation refuges should be off limits to all hunting groups; First Nations, resident hunters, guides etc.

    Conservation of wild lands is in the interest of all Canadians. The animal and land preservation needs to be the loudest voice in the conversation. Hopefully we can find advocates from all user groups to help support and promote strategic wildlife refuge areas.

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    [-] Sasha

    I think the only way forward is to build a regional comanagement model where local first nations and some kind of organization similar in scope to the Freshwater Fisheries Society works together to do inventory, enhance habitat, set harvest levels, and ensure that license revenue and royalties are shared by first nations and the management organization rather than going to general revenue.

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    [-] Rob

    Reconciliation and engagement with First Nations is critical, however exclusively negotiating while alienating other stakeholders is counterproductive. We have a shared interest in wildlife management in British Columbia and anything other than a round table sets the process up for failure. It creates a climate of mistrust and lacks transparency. Having all with a vested interest in the long-term sustainability of habitat and wildlife at a round table is critical establishing an environment of trust and positive outcomes.

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    [-] Anthony

    As the province continues to grow, we need to take steps on unifying our regulations so everyone follows the same rules. There is no exceptions really behind this otherwise we run the risk of further damaging our populations. Data collection should also be introduced to indigenous hunters so we can collect what information we can from each band. What was harvested, ie species, amount, dates and locations.

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    [-] Kyle

    What programs and policies are most important to advance meaningful and lasting reconciliation with indigenous peoples and help implement UNDRIP?
    – Reconciliation and engagement with First Nations is important, however exclusive negotiating while alienating other stakeholders is counterproductive. We have a shared interest in wildlife management in British Columbia and anything other than a round table sets the process up for failure. It creates a climate of mistrust and lacks transparency. Having all stakeholders at a round table is critical to ensuring effectivity and establishing an environment of trust.

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    [-] Ernie

    During the years that seals, sea lions , otters were hunted for their hides and for food, fish stocks were very abundant. But since these animals became so “cuddly” , the sea lions, seals etc have been having feasts of fish and have produced more and more off-springs. It is one of the main factors in the decline of salmon stocks, in my opinion. During the 4 1/2 years I lived with the Indigenous people in the Nass I observed the killing of sea lions for food. It is one of their (the Nisga’a) food sources. I also observed the gluttony of the sea lions during salmon runs. It is time to cull large amounts of the seals and sea lions if we ever hope to get higher populations of salmon in our rivers. That is likely going to get animal rights protesting, but you cannot have it both ways. A cull is needed soon. I am sure the Indigenous Peoples understand this, but perhaps not. I am not sure if this is the type of information you want, if not, feel free to ignore.

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    [-] Ben

    Without some ability to track and count indigenous harvest rates any wildlife plan will be unsuccessful, there needs to be a round table discussion with chiefs, wildlife experts, scientists and industry to insure all parties involved will contribute to a successful end goal of saving the wildlife for all future generations in our province.

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    [-] Nick

    Have First Nations fallow hunting regulations but give them free tags

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    [-] Warren

    A round table discussion with all parties interested in fish/wildlife management, is the only way to establish trust and build positive outcomes

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    [-] christopher

    Harvest Reports from First Nations would be valuable for Regional managers to assess game populations and set AAHs
    Local discussion with FN regional roundtables with all parties present ,equal and on the same level ,no group brings baggage it is about conservation and habitat

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    [-] Steve

    In order to build reconciliation with our First Nation friends and peers, we must bring all partners and stakeholders with an interest in wildlife management together to address issues together. Bilateral relationships between government and First Nations and Government alone will alienated other stakeholders, build resentment and increase hostilities between the general population and First Nations. Let’s all work together at the same table for the long-term sustainability of our wildlife.

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    [-] Stephen

    Reconciliation and engagement with First Nations is critical, however exclusively negotiating
    while alienating other stakeholders is counterproductive. We have a shared interest in wildlife management in British Columbia and anything other than a round table sets the process up for failure. It creates a climate of mistrust and lacks transparency. Having all with a vested interest in the long-term sustainability of habitat and wildlife at a round table is critical establishing an environment of trust and positive outcomes.

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    [-] Matt

    I believe in the First Nations protected right to hunt and fish for sustenance and ceremonial purposes. However, I believe this right should be more transparent or governing agencies such as FLNROD. For example, every year that I buy a Mule Deer species licence tag I receive a survey in the male asking about information as to whether I harvested a Mule Deer, where, etc. Aboriginal hunters and fishers should also have to report their harvest numbers to the governing agencies, not so that they can be limited, but so that more accurate decisions can be make for future resource. Also, I believe that laws regarded which portions of a harvest need to be removed and cared for by the hunter should also apply to the Aboriginal hunter, I am sure that the vast majority do take everything, but without the law applying to them and no way to enforce it, there will always be people who ignore it and waste an animal.

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    [-] Sue

    Include First Nations in decision making. Incorporate traditional ecological knowledge.

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    [-] Peter

    Education of non-Indigenous peoples is paramount. Our western mind-set is profoundly flawed by a “mechanistic possession” paradigm. We have emotionally distanced ourselves from wildlife by relegating them to cold/calculating management language and models that tout terms such as “keystone species, wildlife trees, danger trees, invasive species, timber, sport fish, game animals, and so on and so on. Traditional Indigenous peoples thought of plant and animal beings not as inferior beings to be conquered and possessed, but as unique beings to be persuaded to share with humans whatever resources they both required to survive. I encourage BC Ministry of Environment to direct major funds toward helping BC residents understand and appreciate the infinitely more respectful posture that characterized traditional Indigenous peoples mindset.

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    [-] george

    Since courts have determined that native have clear legal rights, and others yet to be determined in future, what needs to be settled is what clear rights and access to resources non-natives will have.

    Negotiation can be more productive than court orders.

    The present ‘negotiation’ process is inherently unbalanced. On one side of the table are representatives for the natives. On the other side of the table are government representatives. Since government represents both natives and non-natives, the negotiations are not ‘balanced’ with both sides being represented equally. Government, and especially political influences, should not be who is at the negotiating table.

    Access to resources needs to be equal to all people, under the same rules. Anything else will guarantee perpetual inter-racial strife.

    It needs to be recognized that hunting, fishing, trapping for food is a cultural and traditional activity for many non-natives just as much as it is for many natives. If there are restrictions in that activity for conservation or other reasons, those restrictions need to apply to all equally.

    Natives and non-natives have equal responsibility to protect resources, so need to share information on use and concerns about problems.

    The incredible abuse and degradation of environment/habitat by industries working under rules that do not begin to protect resources for the future is causing great concern in both native and non-native people. Instead of negotiating (fighting) over what may be left, we need to force industries to be more respectful and take far greater care of the environment. Taking better care of the environment for future generations, alone, could make negotiations on UNDRIP far more productive.

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    [-] Mandy

    Involving indigenous peoples is an important part of future wildlife management in this province. However; I believe all user groups have to be consulted; the voice of just one group cannot trump non-indigenous people’s right to provide for their families as well. This will create an “us vs. them” mentality, the indigenous and non-indigenous citizens of this province are already divided enough, and government policies are not helping this. First nations do have a right to hunt, but perhaps they should be recording or reporting harvests as well, to factor into management decisions. Also, if indigenous peoples can develop hunting and fishing regulations with reasonable harvest quotas and restrictions on harvest, say of cow moose/elk, in consultation with their bands and the province, this would be helpful. We all have to manage our harvests in this province, every group of people included, otherwise the divide between citizens and contempt for each other, which is already present, will grow. Everyone needs to be treated as equals at the consultation table!

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    [-] Jordan

    I feel that reconciliation and consultation with First Nations is a critical part of wildlife recovery in BC. I also believe that the process should be open and transparent and inclusive of legitimate stakeholder groups in a roundtable format while protecting First Nation’s rights. Transparency and inclusiveness will allow all groups to have meaningful input without alienating any one group.

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    [-] Dave

    Harvest reports should be submitted by First Nations so biologists know what is being harvested for proper management

    All citizens, races, people should be equal – to give First Nations different rules is racist.

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    [-] John

    Actually respecting existing Treaty rights by adequately consulting and not infringing on affected First Nations, thereby halting projects like the Site C Dam, no matter how far along they are.

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    [-] Evelyn

    – True collaboration means Indigenous people should be decision-makers, not just consulted.
    – Traditional Knowledge should play an important role in environmental decision making.

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    [-] elmie

    need to form real equal partnerships.

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    [-] Adam

    True collaboration means Indigenous people should be decision-makers in a nation-to-nation relationship, not merely consulted. Traditional Knowledge should be given equal footing with scientific knowledge in environmental decision making. BC should take Indigenous Protected Areas very seriously and seek ways to build IPAs with Indigenous nations, not simply wait for nations to bring proposals forward.

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    [-] Sarah

    – True collaboration means Indigenous people should be decision-makers, not just consulted.
    – Traditional Knowledge should play an important role in environmental decision making.

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    [-] Rob

    Meaningful reconciliation on the wildlife and wild landscape question will require understanding on both sides. FN harvests must be monitored in order to apply science to conservation. FNs rights to harvest must be better understood by non-FN hunters. There is a great deal of confusion over what traditional rights are, with many non-FN people thinking it means hunting on foot with a bow and arrow, rather than a legal right to harvest regardless of method.

    Restrictions on access to non-FN controlled territory upsets many conservationists because they do not believe that FNs are completely sincere about conservation. Monitoring wildlife harvest in order to apply science to management would be very helpful.

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    [-] Marilyn

    While I fully support the indigenous peoples right to hunt and fish for actual food, I know that they do sell salmon fished for supposed food and ceremonial purposes. I have bought some of them myself from the aboriginals while the fishery is closed to non aboriginals. They do themselves a disservice and reinforce feelings of mistrust in the non aboriginal population I think that building on and enhancing collaboration could help to foster feelings of worth and trust within the population to the betterment of all.

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    [-] Lynne

    Please don’t flood the Peace region

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    [-] Mitch

    Reconciliation with indigenous people is important, I think it’s a great idea! However, what I think is a bad idea is exclusively negotiating with First Nation while excluding all other stakeholders. BC is a diverse province with many different groups who all share an interest in wildlife management, health, and policy. Anything other than an inclusive round table approach will just foster mistrust and a feeling of discrimination based on race, moving forward every British Columbian, with a vested interest in wildlife needs to have a voice.

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    [-] Jeff

    More inline practices and procedures throughout both communities.

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    [-] Michael

    Last year after the wildfires I saw lots of Indigenous areas (Bands, reserves, etc.) limited or even banned hunting in there regions due to stress throughout the fire season on habitat and wildlife. This wouldn’t be communicated to every person in the province; But, interested parties that are involved or follow these organizations.
    I am unaware if this strategy was implemented for the persons that used the License, Tag, and LEH system of the BC government. Indigenous harvest rights are based upon the Indian Act which is a federal government document; Should that be governed provincially?

    Indigenous persons should have to take part in appropriate reporting to work within the science-based conservation program. This benefits the longevity of the wildlife and the habitat.
    Indigenous persons were stewards of the land long before the increase in population and the encroachment upon the wild places. Yes, they can make mistakes and can be reprimanded for not hunting ethically.

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    [-] Mike

    I would suggest continuing to build on a collaborative approach to wildlife conservation and habitat management. The pool of resources is common to all Canadians. If habitat is lost and or animals go extinct, it affects First Nations as well.

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    [-] Nick

    I think that since it is their constitutional right, we need to work with the bands to make the moral choice to hunt under season and only species that the government sees acceptable for all British Columbians. Until we start managing together, we will not make progress. Yes, they can chose not to, but if we as a province even convinced 20%, it would greatly help the populations. A perfect example is the cow moose study they are doing out of Prince George. Non-licensed Hunters (aka indigenous) made up for 17% of cow moose mortality in the study. Licensed hunters were less that 3%. It’s not right and we can never manage populations that way.

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    [-] David

    I hope to see in the future that indigenous and none work towards a good wildlife management system that if unlawful hunting is taking place individuals will loose hunting privileges. and also work together in wildlife restoration projects.

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    [-] Fred

    Each Nation should have the opportunity to monitor the harvest of its members. This monitoring should be facilitated by the Provincial Government. Each Nation should be able to send a harvest questionnaire to their hunters and collect the information. Each Nation could then decide if it wants to share that information with the Provincial Government or keep it in house, to make their own management decision.

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    [-] Onni

    I look forward to hearing that “consultation” is more than government officials walking into a meeting to present the next direction. What I didn’t see in some of the comments below is recognition that First Nations were effective stewards of this land for thousands of years before settlers and Colonialism arrived. It took only 150 years for us to destroy the ecological balance that existed. What about actually listening to the traditional knowledge present in First Nations cultures and traditions before enacting legislation.

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    [-] Glen

    There should be I ne rule for everybody. Otherwise, there is discrimination and this creates animosity.

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    [-] Dean

    I feel that if the wildlife population is struggling for any multitude of reasons, then it seems only reasonable that all British Columbians should have an equal opportunity to hunt the sustainable number. I don’t feel any interest group should be able to exceed the scientists estimation of sustainable harvest regardless of any factor. If we over hunt any or all species then eventually there will be no animals to hunt.

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    [-] John

    I recognize that First Nations have an constitutional right to wildlife, however with that right comes some responsibilities. There is a perception that their harvest is unregulated, although in certain instances FN are taking steps to address this issue. I believe that FN disclosure of their harvest would go a long way to easing the ill feelings projected by some members of other user groups.
    To advance Reconcilation there needs to be meaningful and respectful engagement of all user groups with recognition of FN rights. It will take time for Reconciliation to occur as what FN perceive as Reconciliation is no doubt evolving much the same as it is for the rest of Society. I believe that FN have a respect for and desire to see healthy wildlife populations and are willing to participate in the management of our wildlife.

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    [-] Scott

    I believe that everyone in BC has the same goal, healthy and viable wildlife populations that are well managed. Sadly this is not the case, currently there is very little funding or respect for the welfare of our wildlife. The current government has been making decisions based on emotion rather than science. Ignoring biologists and marking decisions such as banning grizzly bear hunting just to generate click bait articles is not wildlife management.

    If this government truly wants to reconcile with the First Nations they need to make wildlife management a priority rather than just a endless discussion. I believe that the First Nations see through the political smokescreen of newspaper articles, and interviews and they want a real change. The answer is easy, more funding for wildlife and a science based strategy that does not conform to a political agenda. Engaging the indigenous communities to help manage the resource and provide them funding, and the tools to do so would be a great start.

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    [-] Jack

    First Nations rights to harvest wildlife needs to be protected, but that does not mean we should not be collecting statistics and ensuring all Canadians are accountable for the preservation of wildlife.
    Step one is data gathering. There is obviously a sentiment among many Canadians that the current harvest practices of First Nations is negatively effecting wildlife. But it doesn’t really matter what we ‘think’ does it. It’s time we got some statistics, and gathering that data doesn’t infringe on anyone’s rights. Once we have that information we can decide how to proceed.
    If any group is practacing hunting/trapping/gathering methods that are not ensuring healthy populations of flora and fauna for future generations, then those practices need to be regulated immediately.

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    [-] Dan

    Not really sure why this is up for debate. Honour the treaties, and allow self- governance, but maintain access to lands for hunting, camping and fishing for all.

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    [-] Joleen

    Listen to everyone. That’s a start. Bring all involved parties together and listen to each other. There has to be a reasonable solution that will benefit all. If there are issues regarding hunting a speicies that is low in numbers then do the logical thing and protect that speices from humans as best we can. Common sense should prevail. It should not be about race/religion/origin.

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    [-] Rowley

    Reconciliation and engagement with First Nations is critical, however exclusively negotiating
    while alienating other stakeholders is counterproductive. We have a shared interest in wildlife
    management in British Columbia and anything other than a round table sets the process up for
    failure. It creates a climate of mistrust and lacks transparency. Having all with a vested interest
    in the long-term sustainability of habitat and wildlife at a round table is critical establishing an
    environment of trust and positive outcomes.

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    [-] Aaron

    I think the only way to approach this topic is through dialogue specific to each region and First Nation. Consultation between effected stake holders and perhaps regional advisory boards that can have a say in conservation efforts. A diverse board with all stakeholders that can bring all perspectives to the table. Not an easy task to get groups together and to work together but if the end interest is enough wildlife for all users it may be possible.

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    [-] Clayton

    More focus on wildlife populations. Reconciliation is not a quantifiable goal where wildlife populations are. Manage with science

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    [-] Clayton

    Treat people equally. Manage wildlife with science.
    Collect indigenous harvest data

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    [-] Pete

    Unregulated harvest, mismanagement of predation and mismanagement of harvest are the main reasons BC is struggling with it’s ungulate populations. A group that has a right or is entitled to something will take what is allowed to take without necessarily thinking about the impact of their actions. The unregulated harvest CANNOT go on without significant change. We are in an era of high population high demand and little resources. EVERYONE needs to contribute and help wildlife. In the NWT for example, the indegenous poeple tag their animals and have quota’s. They have no season, but are still limited to what they can take in each area and they understand how important this is to maintaining balance.

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    [-] Leilah

    First Nations’ land rights have to be protected and respected as a primary consideration. Conservation will not succeed if it attempts to shut them out or to overrule their own use of unceded land. Policies have to be updated to UNDRIP standards and indigenous rights must be respected.

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    [-] John

    I believe that all people should be equal in the regards to wildlife regulations and that the law should be applied equally to all people. Conservation first. Identity politics and conservation don’t belong together.

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    [-] Warren

    It is well understood that Indigenous people have protected rights to hunt and fish, but these rights do not translate into a larger voice at the table than other user groups when it comes to wildlife management. To advance meaningful and lasting reconciliation with indigenous people they must have an equal say as all other legitimate conservation groups/organizations when it comes to how we implement the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. Protected rights to hunt does not legally entitle indigenous groups to any say into wildlife management, their voice has the same value as all other wildlife user groups. It must be remembered that no matter where or what land wildlife is located on, it is owned by all citizens of Canada and the management is entrusted to the Crown.

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    [-] Joel

    EQUALITY: No matter race or gender we should work together to do whats best for sustainable wildlife population.

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    [-] Martin

    Would like to see a better understanding how First Nations interacts with the wildlife.
    Would think the public with be more understanding if some information was available… Like who to donate a skin to or bear parts and such. Maybe some other this stuff is common and easy to do and find but I’ve not seen it at this point.

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    [-] Kathie

    It would be helpful if there was more Indigenous participation on some Wildlife Rescue Boards or even within the organizations to help educate all participants in advancing meaningful recognition and reconciliation.
    Education is key to the success of any organization especially with regards to cultural and traditional activities.

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    [-] Gail

    My comment would echo those who have already addressed/ researched and so eloquently spoken volumes in this most pressing and “ precious” issue and I could state it no better than those before me , so I quote:
    “ • Increased monitoring is an absolute must. Partnerships with universities, First Nations or Indigenous groups, and other non-government organizations can provide the workforce if the government provides the oversight and funding.
    • Wholistic ecosystems approaches need to be considered – including the impact industry is having. Quick fixes and “management” of individual species is not effective in the long-term.
    • The precautionary principle should be applied when uncertainty exists in high volumes.
    • Science-based decision making does not mean ethics have no place in discussions.
    • Government science should be open to the same review and publishing processes as external research to ensure accountability.
    • Increased enforcement of human activity, including hunting and trapping, recreational use, and industry use in natural areas will assist in preventing conflict.
    • Recognize that hunting and trapping are no longer the only reasons people are outdoors – and policy should reflect this.

    • Appropriate funding must be made available to municipalities for educational initiatives.
    • Municipalities should be encouraged to create local wildlife feeding by-laws and other by-laws for education and enforcement purposes at the local level.
    • The Conservation Officer Service and FLNRO’s enforcement agents must be proactive in ticketing and issuing fines both before and after conflict occurs.
    • Increase the use of wildlife corridors over or under highways and major roadways.
    • Institute third-party oversight of enforcement.

    • Many issues facing wildlife and habitat are human-created, and we have an ethical responsibility to address them.
    • Funding can be diverted from regular tax base, as well as use charges, including consumptive use (hunting, fishing, trapping, industry) and access charges.
    • Increased use of fines as an enforcement tool can help to create revenue streams and reduce needs for services through education.”

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    [-] Shelly

    Stop demoralizing First Nations people’s once and for all.

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    [-] Michele

    I believe the First Nations should be the one answering that question. They definitely need to be at the table when these polices are being discussed

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    [-] Tracy

    Use funds to educate the public on native traditions with respect to use of the indigenous lands. Allow native peoples to reintroduce native species of plants and traditional cultivation of the plant and animals for spiritual and sustainable use. Preserve the forests and waterways for generations to come.

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    [-] It

    It is vital that we do all we can to support our wildlife

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    [-] Dea

    Indigenous hunters should be reporting harvest number and have a tag system so we can get even an idea of how many animals are being harvested. Hard to know how to fix a problem without the data on what’s causing the problem.

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    [-] Scott

    Reconciliation is the reestablishment of friendship or harmony – a bringing back together. We are very much in favor of seeing this take place in our province. There are 26 Indigenous people who own guide outfitting certificates in British Columbia, and many more working in the outfitting industry. We support the protected rights of First Nations peoples to hunt and fish for food, social and ceremonial purposes under section 35 of the Canadian Constitution.

    We believe that wildlife is a public resource, should be managed for the benefit of all British Columbians, and that the right and responsibility rests solely with the Province to manage.
    As we are all Canadians, utilizing the same resource, we believe that there should be a common table for stakeholders in government-to-government negotiations and the development of programs and policies.

    In order to improve wildlife management, it is imperative that science, traditional knowledge and sound management lead us. We will all benefit from collaborative conversations that put a priority upon what’s best for wildlife. Local knowledge and First Nations traditional knowledge must be incorporated into population models to improve accuracy. Indigenous peoples have a close contact with the land and the wildlife that live upon it. First Nations have traditional territories and have long since assigned a value to wildlife, taking a seven-generations perspective to wildlife management.

    Habitat and population monitoring programs for terrestrial wildlife is an imperfect science that often forms a shaky foundation upon which to build a comprehensive strategy for sound management. Until there is confidence in the integrity of the core data, there can be no collaborative and meaningful discussions among stakeholders that result in outcomes that put wildlife first. There are many challenges to conducting inventories; however, it is critical that inventory models include both traditional and local knowledge. “Essentially, all models are wrong, but some are useful.” George Box

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    [-] David

    Meaningful capacity building is essential for the future of maintaining First Nations relationships. Prior to deploying specific policy changes including those relating to wildlife habitat etc, the BC Government should invest in understanding capacity building needs and then following through on supporting those needs.

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