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Williams Treaties Harvesting Guide

Williams Treaties First Nations Harvesting Guidelines in Treaty 20

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Introduction

Williams Treaties First Nations have a special relationship with the lands, including the water and resources — not only in their traditional area, but throughout gichii mukinaak (Big Turtle).

Protection, conservation and sustainable collaborative management are a priority for the Williams Treaties First Nations.

Harvesting of fish, wildlife, trapping and gathering will be carried out in Treaty 20 in accordance with these values – the Seven Grandfathers Teachings:

  • Nibwaakaawin – Wisdom
  • Zaagiidwin – Love
  • Minaadendamowin – Respect
  • Aakode’win – Bravery
  • Gwayakwaadiziwin – Honesty
  • Dabaadendiziwin – Humility
  • Debwewin – Truth
Williams Treaties First Nations have a special relationship with the lands, including the water and resources

Traditional Harvesting

In addition to hunting and fishing, the Williams Treaties First Nations have traditionally harvested for medicine, food, social and ceremonial purposes, including but not limited to the harvesting of:

  • Manomin – Wild Rice
  • Wiigwaas – Birch Bark
  • Miinaan – Berries
  • Mushkiikiiwug – Medicinal Plants including Cedar, Sage, Sweetgrass, Sweetflag, Ginseng, etc.
  • Maple Syrup

The harvesters of the Williams Treaties First Nations recognize the importance of conservation and protection and will only harvest the above for personal and community use.

Williams Treaties First Nations have traditionally harvested items such as birch bark, cedar and sage

What is the Interim Enforcement Policy?

This policy directs the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry to use enforcement discretion and was designed to recognize the priority rights of Aboriginal people exercising a constitutionally protected right to harvest fish or wildlife for personal or community subsistence purposes.

Aboriginal people harvesting fish or wildlife for personal consumption or for social or ceremonial purposes are not required to hold the otherwise applicable Ontario license and will not be subject to enforcement action, except in certain circumstances. These exceptions include:

  • hunting and fishing in an unsafe manner
  • taking fish and wildlife for commercial purposes (where a commercial harvesting right has not been recognized by a Court and no license is held)
  • taking fish and wildlife that puts conservation objectives at risks
  • hunting or fishing on privately owned or occupied land without permission of the landowner.
Aboriginal people harvesting fish or wildlife for personal consumption or for social or ceremonial purposes are not required to hold the otherwise applicable Ontario license and will not be subject to enforcement action, except in certain circumstances.

Transportation of Wildlife

Members of Williams Treaties First Nations may transport fish and wildlife harvested in the area of Treaty 20 anywhere in the province.

If you encounter a conservation officer, you can expect that the officer may ask:

  • for identification verifying membership in a Williams Treaties First Nations community
  • where/when the fish or wildlife was harvested
  • who participated in the harvest
  • if hunting, a conservation officer may ask to see your firearm to ensure it is being transported safely (unloaded and
    encased).
Members of Williams Treaties First Nations may transport fish and wildlife harvested in the area of Treaty 20 anywhere in the province.

Inter Territorial Harvesting (ITH) and Permission Forms

Consistent with the Court’s decision in R. v. Shipman, permission to harvest must be granted by the Chief or his or her designate.

Should a Chief choose to grant an individual from another First Nation — other than the Williams Treaties First Nations — permission to harvest in the area of Treaty 20, generally the permission would be recognized by conservation officers.

The Williams Treaties First Nations have an internal protocol for considering and approving ITH which includes establishing time limit, catch limits, boundaries, and contacting and collaborating with one another.

An ITH form is available in the Permissions Forms section of this website.

Fish Sanctuaries

Please refrain from fishing during the spawning season in fish sanctuaries!

A map of the fish sanctuaries is available in the Maps section of this website.

Safety Concerns

Night Hunting

The primary concern with respect to night hunting is safety, and given the geography of Treaty 20, it is likely that night hunting would be considered unsafe and would be investigated by a conservation officer.

Calibre Restrictions

Generally, calibre restrictions do not apply to individuals harvesting pursuant to an Aboriginal or treaty right. However, all hunters including Aboriginal hunters are required to handle and discharge firearms in a safe manner.

Firearm Transportation

Firearms must be transported unloaded and encased.

Harvesting from a Canoe or Motor Boat

Safety considerations for harvesters include:

  • Type of firearm (shotgun/rifle)
  • Number of people in the boat/canoe
  • Stability of the boat
  • Other boats/people in the vicinity
Safety considerations for harvesters harvesting from a canoe or motor boat include type of firearm, number of people in the boat/canoe, stability of the boat, and other boats/people in the vicinity.

Access

Areas for Harvesting in Treaty 20

Access to crown lands is allowed.

Access to parks and protected areas is addressed on a case-by-case basis and always includes safety concerns. Please contact your First Nation office for the protocol before harvesting.

Permission to access privately owned lands is required. A landowner permission form in the Permissions Forms section of this website.

In accessing provincial parks, a harvester can contact the Park Superintendent to advise of intent to access and to coordinate, and to ensure safety, parking and vehicle identification are addressed. Contact information is available in the Permissions Forms section of this website.

Williams Treaties First Nations Harvesting Contacts

  • Alderville First Nation Office – 905-352-2011
  • Beausoleil First Nation Office – 705-247-2051
  • Curve Lake First Nation Office – 705-657-8045
  • Georgina Island First Nation Office – 705-437-1337
  • Hiawatha First Nation Office – 705-295-4421
  • Rama First Nation Office – 705-325-3611
  • Scugog First Nation Office – 905-985-3337
Access to crown lands is allowed. In accessing provincial parks, a harvester can contact the Park Superintendent to advise of intent to access and to coordinate, and to ensure safety, parking and vehicle identification are addressed.