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As mining fight escalates, First Nations challenge Ontario’s power – The Breach

May 3 2023

Treaty 9 nations are countering the province’s plans with a bold vision of shared land management

Peter Moonias’s father was a trapper. Once or twice a week, they would paddle along the Attawapiskat River to check the nets they had set for sturgeon and catch what they needed to eat and make a living.

But when Moonias was a child in the 1940s, Ontario implemented new hunting and fishing laws. He said the province required trappers to work along registered zones which restricted where the Moonias family could place their traps. The province also regulated what kind of nets they could use to catch sturgeon.

Under the new laws, Moonias’s father couldn’t travel as far for fish or place as many traps, and the new netting let more fish slip through. Ontario’s control meant his family caught fewer fish, Moonias said — but if they didn’t follow the new rules, they’d risk going to jail.

“It’s very, very oppressive,” he told The Breach in an interview. “It’s like some kind of gentle genocide to kill our people, to starve our people.”

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