What are your thoughts on the Douglas Treaty? Let us know through this survey by clicking the button below:
Good afternoon, my name is Carl Olsen, my English name and my First Nations name is ZȺWIZUT. It’s my grandfather’s name on my mother’s side.
What do you think to hunt and fish as formerly meant to our ancestors?
To hunt and fish as formerly in the treaty has given us a right to carry on our way of fishing. For me to hunt as formerly means that I’m able to go out and hunt anytime I want in unoccupied territory, the same with the fishing. That’s not just reef net fishing. I spent a lot of time with my dad spear fishing in the bay here at low tide at night.
Do you think historical activities included management and trade?
Management of our fishing right was to make sure that we preserved fish for the next year. And how we did that with the reef net is that there was a built-in hole in the reef net for escapement. And so that escapement was preservation for the following year.
And when you take a look at the hunting side of it, while both sides together, the hunting and fishing, we were always told to only take what we needed. So that was a way of preserving for the next generations behind us.
When we fished here and got back in, we’d clean the fish. He would always put fish on the steak and say bring this up to so and so. And so when I did that, I always returned with something from them.
I train young hunters. So when he got five deer in three days, he kept one for himself, and he provided some for the elders in the community with the other four. Only take what you need and if you know people that don’t have it, then you can provide for them as well.
Do you think the Douglas Treaty should have economic rights in a modern context?
The Wildlife Act has a very small portion for First Nations. And that says that you can’t sell your game or your fish. But if you can prove that you bartered and sold, you can. And that’s what it was all about in the beginning, anyway. Economically, that’s how we survived. That’s how the Europeans arrived when they arrived is trade with them for what they needed. And for what we needed in return.
There was supposed to be a protected area for us to be able to hunt as formerly, and that area was never protected. The CRD is planning to expand their landfill right up to the bottom of Mount Work, so that takes away from our hunting area that is still open to us there, a very small area. But not only that, it interrupts with the fishing because the stream that runs from there, runs right into Mackenzie Bay or Mackenzie Bite as they call it nowadays. So I think that the pollution from the landfill will end up on the beach there.
Do you believe there should be a unified W̱SÁNEĆ body to represent your Douglas Treaty interests?
Well, people look at it as an individual treaty, and from what I understand now, in the court system, that they don’t allow individuals to go to court if it’s an individual treaty because it belongs to everybody. And the whole community has to really, I think if the communities want to take the lead in it and support everyone then it should come from the community.
Who would you expect to be the communal/collective voice in representing your inherent Douglas Treaty rights?
I definitely think that someone should take the lead. Who that would be I’m not sure but we are headed towards the four bands working together. That’s what I would like to see anyway.