Lack of Indigenous consultation showed ‘incoherence’ of failed firearm amendment: leaders

A House committee heard criticism and some measured support when an indigenous leader testified Tuesday about liberal efforts to outlaw assault weapons.

Kanawake’s Mohawk Council Chief of Staff Jessica Lazar told lawmakers the reality of indigenous peoples traveling with guns in search of food has been overlooked due to lack of consultation. .

Gwitchin Tribal Council Chief of Staff Ken Kikaviczyk said he did not question the intentions of the federal government’s action, but a clear requirement for engagement and consultation with Indigenous peoples and, more broadly, Canadians at large. said that there is

The Liberal Party banned some 1,500 gun models and variants, including the AR-15, at its May 2020 council meeting, saying they cannot be used for sport shooting or hunting.

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Last November, the government moved to tighten the ban by including an evergreen definition of assault-style firearms in the Gun Control Act, which also includes measures on handguns, revocation of licenses and smuggling activities.

Liberals last month faced criticism from Conservative MPs and some gun supporters that the wording would ban many commonly used hunting rifles and shotguns, including assault-style firearms. withdrew the amendments to

Lazar said Tuesday she is unaware of how existing prohibitions and licenses already limit the rights of her people, and no attempt to help determine which specifications and models need to be protected. Said there wasn’t.

The lack of comprehensive consultation is evident in the bill’s “consistency and inconsistency,” she said.

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Lazar said the amendment would ban a wide range of hunting rifles, shotguns and other long-arms used by Mohawk hunters.

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“When we talk about a firearm as an object, we forget whether the person holding it makes it a tool to live with or a weapon,” she said.

“We ask that you address the real underlying problems that drive gun violence and stop further restricting Indigenous peoples from living in sustainable, ritualistic and generational ways.”

Lazar urged lawmakers to focus on firearm safety training, awareness of gun violence, and the mental health issues that lead to such tragedies.

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Kyikavichik said the Gwich’in Tribal Council supports “limitation of powerful automatic attack weapons commonly used in military applications”.

“Too often, some of these weapons have completely overwhelmed the authorities we rely on for public safety. We cannot allow this to continue.”

He pointed out that the list of firearms that would be banned by the legislative amendment included the Simonov SKS and other long guns common in his people’s northern communities.

“If some of these models are listed under this law, participants should have a practical and appropriate process for the buyback program to compensate for possible losses arising from the passage of this potential law. And it will be interesting for the community,” Kikabichik said.

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He added that there would also be interest in possible exemptions for certain models considered essential to Gwich’in hunting and management.

“For many Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians, harvesting our country’s natural resources with respect is a fundamental part of our lives, along with our ability to traverse our great lands with pride and safety. People are passionate about this issue because it forms part of their needs and human rights, along with rights protected by our treaties or established in common law,” he said.

“But there needs to be an appropriate balance between public safety and our right to exercise this privilege in order to coexist in these habitats we all call home.”

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