The Ditidaht First Nation’s proud claim is that its people never go hungry: Their traditional territory, covering a wide expanse of southern Vancouver Island, is rich with food for the taking – salmon and duck, mussels and berries, deer and elk.
Joseph William Thomas and Christopher John Brown, two aboriginal hunters from the urban Esquimalt First Nation – where hunting opportunities have long since disappeared – travelled to Ditidaht territory in 2013 with the intent of putting food on the table. Mr. Thomas has five children and, at that time, a total of nine people living under his roof.
Mr. Thomas believed he was exercising his treaty right to hunt on unoccupied Crown land, and the two men brought along youth from their community to take part in what they consider to be an important cultural practice.
“My own kids, they want to hunt. It is family time. Out there, you are alive again – it’s a cultural thing, ” Mr. Thomas explained in a recent interview. “When I was hunting, I wasn’t saving it for myself, I provided for my family. Every elder that eats their traditional food, they are so happy – like a child with candy – when you bring them meat.”
But in the eyes of the law those hunting trips were illegal, and twice in the space of four months they were caught poaching by conservation officers.
That might have led to a lengthy trial and, likely, convictions for the pair. Instead, aboriginal leaders seized on it as an opportunity to use their traditional customs and laws alongside the criminal justice system. They hope this case will prove to be a model for meaningful redemption for First Nations offenders.
The pair’s defiance about their treaty rights faded when they realized the legal battle was just one part of their troubles. Although they were arrested on Crown land, they had failed to seek the permission of the Ditidaht to hunt in their territory, and they had left meat to rot in one instance. On both those counts, they had brought shame and conflict to their Esquimalt Nation based on traditional conventions.
Compounding matters, the Ditidaht are stoutly in favour of conservation efforts to protect Roosevelt elk – in fact, they have joined with other Nuu-chah-nulth tribes in offering a reward for information that leads to the conviction of elk poachers.
Together Mr. Thomas and Mr. Brown faced a total of 17 charges that could have resulted in fines between , 000 and 0, 000 and up to three years in prison. The case was heard in one of the province’s First Nations courts, presided over by provincial court Justice Marion Buller. Instead of jail or crippling fines, the court and Crown counsel agreed to an unusual settlement where traditional aboriginal justice was allowed to resolve the case.
All the charges have been dropped, and today Mr. Thomas and Mr. Brown are still working to earn redemption. Neither man will hunt this year – their guns have been locked up by the Esquimalt Nation’s chief and council as part of the settlement imposed by the two nations.
Late in December, Mr. Thomas sat down for an interview at a picnic table on the Esquimalt reserve, taking a short break from carting firewood into the community’s longhouse. He and Mr. Brown are required to spend at least two days each week performing cleaning and maintenance on the reserve for one year. It is not deemed to be punishment, but an opportunity to model good behaviour.
Kids in the neighbourhood sometimes pepper him with questions when they see him cleaning up. “I explain to the children, this is my way of saying, ‘Sorry, I made a mistake, ’” Mr. Thomas said.success antonym success auto sales success baby success clipart success doesn't come from what you do occasionally success image success images success in life success inspirational quotes for work success is counted sweetest success mindset success motivational quotes for work success overnight success positive affirmations success positive motivational quotes success quotes success quotes for men success realty success sharing home depot success sharing home depot success synonyms success thesaurus success through a positive mental attitude success wallpaper success words technaflora recipe for success tethered spinal cord surgery success rate the key success factors in an industry the key to success tarkov the national society of leadership and success reviews the seven spiritual laws of success there is no elevator to success tools for success was reconstruction a success what does a customer success manager do what is the success rate of a spinal cord stimulator attitude eagle quotes success bumble success stories dress for success denver foster care to success how do you spell success lake success, ny membrane sweep success rate misdiagnosed blighted ovum success stories opposite of success performance manager 4 success factors provera pregnancy success success good luck wishes success hunters success in latin success is no accident quotes the law of success celebrate success continuing success goal success quotes ivf success key to success in life magnet of success married at first sight success rate quotes about failure and success slug success success affirmations success credit union success interviews success quotes for business success rate of iui vitrectomy success rate what does a customer success manager do amazon onsite interview success rate ivf calculator success keto success motivate for success ralph waldo emmerson success stem cell transplant success rate study to success success books success companies success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. success mantra success pronunciation success quote success vision paducah ky the law of success weight watchers success stories achieves success animal mating success ankle ligament surgery success rate attitude eagle quotes success borat great success castor oil at 37 weeks success cdc ivf success rates center for academic success cerebral success class room for success crystal for success customer success metrics director of customer success salary dress for success locations near me equipped for reading success failure and success quotes geritol pregnancy success stories 2020 hotel dash suite success how do you define success interview question how i raised myself from failure to success in selling isaac success iui success stories 2020 ivf success rates by age 2020 ivf success stories john wooden success quote key to success lake success, new york late ovulation pregnancy success liver transplant success rate lumbar radiofrequency ablation success rate mantras for success march to success metformin weight loss success stories mindset the new psychology of success motivational quotes for students success motivational quotes for work success motivational speeches for success outliers the story of success p shot success rate pearson success net peloton success stories pillars of success positive quotes about success prayer for exam success prayer for success at work quotes for future success quotes success rowing machine weight loss success stories rowing machine weight loss success stories scentsy success secret to my success seven spiritual laws of success pdf skill success skill success success success academy middle schools success criterias success factor success meanings success motivation success nutrition facts success plan template success quotes for work success rice success rice out of the bag success thesaurus success vision express success vision topeka success vision topeka sweet success cucumber the 10x rule: the only difference between success and failure the 7 spiritual laws of success the secret of my success the secrets of lake success tips for success topamax and phentermine weight loss success stories 2020 tti success insights vaccine success vasectomy success rate weaning off cymbalta success stories what is success to you framing success plan for success student success center gcu student success completion grant success companies success driving school success is a journey not a destination