Łútsël K’é Dene First Nation (LKDFN) is calling for an investigation after it says wildlife officers conducted a “raid” at a recent culture camp.
LKDFN issued a press release Wednesday describing the incident.
“After descending on the camp by helicopter, the officers questions community members, carried out an invasive search of family tents and teepees (including children’s tents), and seized samples of country food over a period of four hours.”
The release adds that officers were searching for caribou that was harvested illegally.
“The officers threatened to charge people with obstruction and bring in additional officers if they refused to comply with their demands,” says the release.
LKDFN says the officers’ actions were “aggressive and disrespectful.”
LKDFN regularly holds a culture camp at Timber Bay on Ɂedacho Tué (Artillery Lake). According to the First Nation, about 80 people were at the camp, including children, Elders, “and international and academic guests.”
“This was a completely unreasonable search and an unnecessary violation of our Aboriginal treaty rights,” said Iris Catholique, the manager of Thaidene Nene for LKDFN. “These kinds of tactics remind us of the past when our people were persecuted by wildlife officers for practicing their way of life.”
Charlie Catholique is LKDFN’s acting chief.
He said, “We will defend our members ability to exercise their rights and practice their way of life in peace.”
LKDFN has referred the matter to lawyers.