Bits and Bites Newsletter

A Message addressed to the members of the Niagara Acton for Animals and the Short Hills Wildlife Alliance
- Posted 2019-11-19 22:22:35

We are members of The Gathering Place which is First Presbyterian Church in Port Colborne.  Our denomination regrettably operated some residential schools.  We have confessed this participation as a sin and representatives of the denomination and The Gathering Place participated in reconciliation programs, most recently at the Fort Erie Native Friendship Centre. 

On November 6, 2019, Welland Tribune reporter Grant Lafleche reported in an article entitled “Short Hills hunt opponents label Indigenous hunters drunks and calls for their deaths.”  Haudenosaunee hunters are permitted in December to undertake a ceremonial deer hunt in the Short Hills Park since 2013.  The harvest is approved and supervised by the Park’s Managers, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.  Safety measures are in place during the hunt for the safety of local residents.   

Spokespersons for the Niagara Action for Animals and the Short Hills Wildlife Alliance allowed Facebook postings and participation in site protests from individuals who called the hunters “drunks and barbarians”, with some calling for the hunters to be harvested, like the deer.  While the postings were removed, their removal took time and were viewed widely.  The Saturday, November 9th edition of the Welland Tribune reports the protest organizers apologized.  With respect, we do not feel the apology is sufficient. 

Here are actions we encourage the Niagara Action for Animals and the Short Hills Wildlife Alliance to take to facilitate reconciliation with the traditional harvesters:

  1. Your organizations need to own the racism which has been expressed in your protests.
  2. It isn’t sufficient to apologize without acknowledging the Aboriginal hunt is lawful, carefully planned, and approved by Provincial authorities responsible for the Short Hills Park.  Traditional deer hunting is a treaty right.  This right needs to be acknowledged by the membership of the Niagara Action for Animals and the Short Hills Wildlife Alliance in your publications and communications to members and the public.   
  3. As settlers and descendants of settlers, we are treaty people and obliged to honour the Haudenosaunee peoples Treaty rights.  Educational forums are available in Oshweken and local Niagara Region Native Friendship Centres where we can educate ourselves on our responsibilities.  We encourage the members of the Niagara Action for Animals and the Short Hills Wildlife Alliance to use these forums to learn more about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and its recommendations and to confront racism in its many forms when it arises in the future.
  4. We thank the Creator for the Short Hills Park and the Haudenosaunee peoples who managed these lands before our settlement and who continue to help manage this important resource.
  5. Some form of reparation is needed to address the offensive postings and statements that you sponsored.  With respect, your organizations need to cease harassing the Haudenosaunee hunters at the Short Hills Park.

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