B.C. aboriginal men claim constitutional right to kill, sell bald eagles

 
 
 
 

Aboriginal rights are at the centre of a case in British Columbia where bald eagles were killed and their parts sold for ceremonial purposes.

Photograph by: Cathy Maurice, Postmedia News

 
VICTORIA — Two Vancouver Island aboriginal men who killed and sold bald eagles are claiming a constitutional right to do so.

 

On Thursday in the Vancouver Island community of Duncan, B.C., provincial court Judge Michael Hubbard will decide whether First Nations members have an aboriginal right protected under the constitution to kill, possess and traffic in wildlife parts even though it is deemed illegal under the provincial Wildlife Act.

In doing so, Hubbard will decide if Jerome Seymour of Duncan and his cousin William Seymour of nearby Brentwood Bay, B.C., are innocent or guilty of the charges against them.

During submissions, defence lawyer George Wool argued that aboriginal people have been using eagle parts long before Europeans arrived in North America.

"If it was an integral part to their distinctive society, then it's a claim that has been made out," said Wool



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