Mostly Trapping

Cabin seized by Sask. govt integral to trapper's way of life
Feb 20, 2020 08:10 ET

[Reprinted from original]

First Nations leaders are calling on the Saskatchewan government to return the cabin of a northern trapper in the province so he can continue living a traditional way of life.

Métis trapper Richard Durocher learned of the seizure of his cabin, originally located about 40 kilometres north of Pinehouse, Sask., on Feb. 4, 2019 when a contractor hauled it away.

Lac La Ronge Indian Band (LLRIB) Chief Tammy Cook-Searson said the province should put it back and grant him full access to his trap line. The province's Ministry of Environment maintains that despite the cabin seizure, "there are no restrictions on Mr. Durocher accessing his trap line."

"Many members from our First Nations still rely on their inherent and Treaty right to hunt, fish, trap and gather for their sustenance and health," Cook-Searson said in a written statement.

Cook-Searson spoke in a joint-statement issued by the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN), the Prince Albert Grand Council (PAGC) and LLRIB released on Wednesday.

Erecting a cabin is integral to the traditional method of hunting and trapping. - Brian Hardlotte, grand chief of the Prince Albert Grand Council

She said leaders want to resolve this to ensure the livelihood, health, and well-being of band members like Durocher.

Durocher is a sustenance fur harvester and his application to build his cabin was denied. He said he was encouraged by local Métis officials to "go ahead and build it because we have rights. We're going to take our land back."

A Ministry of Environment spokesperson said it had attempted to work with Durocher about relocating his cabin in the past.

The spokesperson said cabin builds aren't allowed within eight kilometres of either side of the Key Lake, Cigar Lake, McArthur Lake, Cluff Lake and Rabbit Lake roads. The Durocher family is known to have used the land for traditional activities long before the highway to the mine site was built.

The province also said the site is "popular with other users for camping, fishing and other recreational activities." For the Métis Nation-Saskatchewan, Durocher's case raises concerns about the priority of recreational us over traditional land use.

Second trapper's cabin removed

A second trapper's cabin was recently removed from the north shore of Dore Lake. It belonged to Travis Laliberte, a Métis trapper from Beauval who's now unsure if he'll be able to have a cabin ever again.

"I feel that not being able to ever have a trappers cabin now is like taking one of my Aboriginal rights away," he said in an emailed statement to CBC.

Laliberte had been approved to build on a different site about 500 metres from where he put up his cabin three years ago.

Instead, he built nearby a beach location. It appears that location runs afoul of Crown land guidelines which stipulate cabins must be more than a half-kilometre away from a beach which could serve a recreational purpose.

However, Laliberte says "a guideline that was created without consultation makes me believe it is only in place to benefit the person or people who created it."