Tŝilhqot’in Question Amendments to Bill C21

Williams Lake, B.C.: The Tŝilhqot’in National Government is questioning the recent amendments to Bill
C21, which will now include hunting rifles and semi-automatic shotguns. Hunting rifles are necessary tools for hunting and exercising the Indigenous right to hunt as affirmed by Section 35 of the Constitution.

The TNG recognizes the need to address gun violence in Canada. There are specific guns that will need to be banned in this country to protect all Canadians; however, there must be a practical balance in the everyday use of certain guns. In the Tŝilhqot’in territory, hunting rifles are used for hunting large game like deer and moose. These wild animals are a key aspect of food security for Tŝilhqot’in people.

The TNG is asking for more clarity on Bill C21 and the direct impact it may have on the Indigenous right
to hunt.

“We need answers. Bill C21 was supposed to be a bill that restricted hand guns and now it is targeting hunting rifles? Where was the consultation on this? Hunting is an Indigenous right protected under Section 35 of the Constitution. Limiting the type of guns we can use for hunting would severely limited in our ability to hunt. Gun violence needs to be addressed in Canada. We applaud countries like New Zealand and Australia that have dramatically reduced gun violence through gun bans – but any law must take into account the environment it exists in. We are hunters. Indigenous people rely on food from the land for food security and a hunting rifle is a tool to accomplish that. Canada needs to address these concerns before moving forward with Bill C21 or it will be challenged.”

— Nits’ilʔin (Chief) Joe Alphonse, O.B.C, LL.D. (hon.). Tribal Chair, Tŝilhqot’in National Government

Myanna Desaulniers
Communications Manager
Tŝilhqot’in National Government
(250) 305-7885