I had the unfortunate experience of reading Allan Kielczewski’s letter to the editor in the weekly edition of the Fort Frances Times (Sept. 30, 1998).
Mr. Kielczewski comments, “. . . aboriginal people . . . should be forced to obey our game and fish laws.” He hit the nail on the head by using the word, “our.” What does he mean by using the word “our?” Is he using it in the context to include First Nations people, or is he using it to exclude the F.N. people?
The game and fish laws are created for the non-native people by the Ontario government to conserve wildlife from the abusive sporthunter/fisherman who has no respect for Mother Earth and its creations. Many a time, I read in articles where moose, bear, and other animals/carcasses are left to rot where they were put down. The shooter only took antlers, gall bladders of bear, etc.
It seems to me they do this for their own selfish reasons and for their true God, the almighty dollar.
I am writing this to let people be aware of practices of some unscrupulous people with no morals toward other living creatures. In no way am I saying that all non-native people do this. I can understand the value of putting moose/deer meat in your freezer for your own personal consumption.
First Nation people always possessed the right to hunt/fish on reserve or on Crown lands. This right was not given to us by any conquering governments but by the Great Spirit of all people. The treaties signed between the two only confirmed this inherited freedom/right to hunt and fish for our own personal needs.
Just like any social society, there are aboriginal people who may abuse this right for profit. But mainly, the majority of F.N. people hunt/fish to provide food for their children, and to practise an art/skill which is being gradually taken away from us through the assimilation process that the governments of this country are trying to achieve.
The court case of fishing rights–Province of Ontario vs. Murray/Lu Anne Bombay (Bombay winning the case)–only reaffirms that status F.N. people have these inherited rights legally. Mr. Kielczewski has the right to his own opinions no matter how biased and prejudicial they are.
I can recall as an elementary student, my grade six teacher (Mrs. Winik), who was truly wise in her teachings, told me before I say anything off the top of my head or write something impulsively, that I should think it out clearly and know my topic/subject conclusively through research. I do not believe that Mr. Kielczewski did his homework before he voiced his personal conviction on the topic of aboriginal hunting and fishing rights.
It is very saddening that some people can write things about something they don’t understand, or will not take the initiative to try and understand the other side of the coin.
By the way, Mr. Kielczewski, as you may have come to the conclusion that I am of Ojibway decent, I do not have any prejudicial feelings towards any race of people as I am married to a wonderful man with bloodlines that come directly from the Ukraine.
Josephine Leonard (Markewich)
Rainy River First Nations