Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests; Murray Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation; and Blueberry River First Nations Chief Judy Desjarlais have issued the following joint statement:
“We are shocked and angered after learning of recent threats of violence made against members of Blueberry River First Nations.
“Such threats are illegal and abhorrent. Violence and intimidation must have no place whatsoever in British Columbia’s political discourse. Our government condemns these threats and this tactic in the strongest possible terms. We extend our sympathies to those affected by the threats and we affirm our support to all members of the Blueberry River community.
“Police have been provided with details of the threats. An investigation is underway. We encourage anyone with any information to contact the RCMP.
“The Province is currently undertaking a review of hunting regulations as we seek to meet the Crown’s obligations resulting from last year’s Yahey v. British Columbia decision. This review has included consultations with Treaty 8 Nations as well as with hunting stakeholders. Blueberry River First Nations has not come to an agreement with the Province on any wildlife measures, including any changes to hunting regulations.
“Chief Desjarlais and Blueberry River First Nations should in no way be subject to racist and hateful threats and intimidation. Discussion, consultation and negotiation in lawful, democratic fashion is the only way forward for all people in British Columbia.
“Once again, we urge anyone with information to contact the RCMP.”
Additionally, Chief Judy Desjarlais said:
“I want to be clear that death threats to me, Blueberry River members and all Indigenous Peoples are unacceptable and will not be tolerated.
“I understand that hunting is a big part of the way of life for all residents of northeast B.C., whether Indigenous or not. This reprehensible incident underscores the sensitivity of this subject. The health of wildlife populations needs to be considered as we restore and heal the land. These decisions must be based on science and respectful discussions, not threats.
“Blueberry River First Nations is not against hunting. We believe moose have been affected by overdevelopment and that some temporary protections are required in some areas. As long as wildlife management and habitat restoration are managed sustainably, there can be a healthy hunting industry in future for everyone in northeast B.C.”