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A clear intention to effect such a modification: The NRTA and Treaty hunting and fishing rights

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Treaty 8, trapping rights, NRTA, hunting and fishing rights

Abstract (summary)

The purpose of this article is to fill a gap in the historical literature regarding the Natural Resources Transfer Agreements; specifically, it aims to "provide insights into the negotiations leading to section 12 of the NRTA and identify the intent and purpose of the framers." The author, Robert Irwin, notes that the Supreme Court has made several decisions (e.g., Frank v. The Queen, Moosehunter v. The Queen, R. v. Horseman, R. v. Gladue, etc.) that have altered the understanding of Treaty rights and the NRTA regarding hunting and fishing rights, without the benefit of being able to draw on historical research on the NRTA, regarding the original intentions in its framing. Irwin asserts that in the construction of section 12 of the NRTA the Dominion intended "to ensure that Indians maintained their Treaty right of access to unoccupied Crown lands for the purpose of hunting, trapping and fishing;" it also "hoped to conserve game through wise management in the belief that this was important … because of Treaty rights;" and it recognized that hunting regulations and licensed fishing would be set by the provincial government. Irwin concludes by noting that the historical evidence suggests that "the government did not seek to extinguish and replace or merge and consolidate the Treaty rights with the NRTA."

Publication Information

Irwin, Robert. "'A clear intention to effect such modification’: The NRTA and Treaty Hunting and Fishing Rights," Native Studies Review 13, no. 2 (2000): 43-80



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