Game officer Andrew Holmes argued in 1918 that Indigenous people had no more right to hunt than any non-Indigenous individual. However, hunting and trapping was vital to the survival of Aboriginal peoples in the both the North and South of the province away from urban centres, and was also protected under treaty and land rights. Concerns over the conservation of large game were professed to be an underlying factor - Indigenous people were often accused of unsustainable consumption, and in certain instances were prosecuted or fined. However, in reality Indigenous peoples alike were not responsible for the mass extinction of large game, and had developed hunting and gaming practices over generations that preserved game and utilized the animal to its fullest extent. Considerably, it was the introduction of European settlers into the mid-west that caused the near extinction of the Bison, causing mass species loss, a completely new environmental landscape, and vast starvation/death across Plaines Indigenous peoples.
After the terms of Treaty 10 had been negotiated, the Cree and Dene peoples in Treaty 10 reported that the government was not keeping its promises as had been agreed upon, particularly the distribution of rations and medical care. In this case, the violation infringed upon hunting, fishing, and trapping rights included in the treaty. The Crown was often slow in the distribution of rations or would deny them outright altogether. Records show that officials would refuse to provide aid if they decided that Aboriginal peoples had not "worked" enough to earn them; work for rations programs violated treaty rights that ensured aid in times of famine, whether labour was performed or not. Starvation was used by the Canadian Government to control Indigenous populations and was a form of assimilation that resulted in the death of thousands. This event demonstrates a disregard and violation of Treaty 10, and that discrimination was upheld at an institutional level. Please see related entries on treaty 10 for further details.
Rural or Urban
Andrew Holmes Statement