Treaty rights are important

Treaty rights are important Your February 12 article Treaty Rights To Extinction misrepresents my role, support for treaty rights and Beverly caribou herd statistics, which I was careful to explain. First, as the Beverly and Qamanirjuaq Caribou Manageme

Your February 12 article Treaty Rights To Extinction misrepresents my role, support for treaty rights and Beverly caribou herd statistics, which I was careful to explain.

First, as the Beverly and Qamanirjuaq Caribou Management Board secretary-treasurer, I am not a board member.

Second, your story incorrectly implies I disagree with certain First Nation members of the Beverly and Qamanirjuaq Caribou Management Board on the issue of treaty rights. The Beverly and Qamanirjuaq Caribou Management Board has fully recognized the importance of treaty rights through its work and priorities for sustainable use of caribou through conservation messages and practices since its inception in 1982.

The Beverly and Qamanirjuaq Caribou Management Board’s upcoming February 23-25 caribou workshop in Saskatoon is bringing elders, hunters and others together from Saskatchewan, NWT, Nunavut and Manitoba so that everyone can work co-operatively and proactively to share ideas on ways to help the declining Beverly caribou herd recover and prevent a serious decline in the neighbouring Qamanirjuaq and Ahiak caribou herds, which are also important to the traditional harvesters and communities represented on the Beverly and Qamanirjuaq Caribou Management Board.

This work furthers the mission of the board, which is to “ensure the long-term conservation of the Beverly and Qamanirjuaq caribou herds for Aboriginal communities who wish to maintain a lifestyle that includes the use of caribou É,” thus supporting the interests of treaty rights and practices.

In fact, the first principle of the Beverly and Qamanirjuaq Caribou Management Plan 2005-2012 Ð the document that guides the actions of the Beverly and Qamanirjuaq Caribou Management Board Ð states ”É the implementation of the management plan shall be consistent with Aboriginal and treaty rights as recognized in the Constitution Acts, 1867-1982 and in other legislationÉ”

Finally, you said, “Back (in 1994), the Beverly herd numbered 276,000. Today, fewer than 100 animals remain.” You have wrongly compared two completely different types of statistics.

The figure of 276,000 was the estimate of the Beverly herd’s total population in 1994. The figure of 100 refers to the result of the government of the Northwest Territories’ June 2009 reconnaissance survey, which observed fewer than 100 adult caribou on the Beverly calving ground. A reconnaissance survey is not the same as a full population survey. A reconnaissance survey provides a snapshot of only some of the animals on the calving ground during the June calving period.

Ross Thompson,

secretary-treasurer

Beverly and Qamanirjuaq

Caribou Management Board