As the nineteenth century ended, Ontario wildlife became increasingly valuable. Tourists and sport hunters spent growing amounts of money in search of game, and the government began to extend and exert its regulatory powers in this arena. Restrictions were also imposed on hunting and trapping, completely ignoring Anishinaabeg hunting rights set out in the Robinson Treaties of 1850.
Who Controls the Hunt? examines how Ontario’s emerging wildlife conservation laws failed to reconcile First Nations treaty rights and the power of the state. David Calverley traces the political and legal arguments prompted by the interplay of treaty rights, provincial and dominion government interests, and the corporate concerns of the Hudson’s Bay Company.
Indigenous resource use remains a politically and legally significant topic in Canada. Some aspects of First Nations hunting rights have been settled, but questions about species conservation and environmental protection continue to arise. Calverley’s nuanced examination of the resource issues at stake has national relevance, and the themes he raises remain germane to questions about who controls the hunt in Canada today.
This book will find an audience among scholars, students, and lawyers with an interest in Canadian Indigenous history, Canadian law, Indigenous policy, and environmental history.
Who Controls the Hunt? is a valuable case study to which readers can bring as much as they take – and one I will remember each spring as we gather up the rods, the regulations, and the resident and non-resident permits we need to spend another season on the water.
By tracing a particular set of struggles to reconcile First Nations’ conceptions of land, society, and treaty rights with the power of the (liberal) state through a century or so, Who Controls the Hunt? does much to reveal the ambiguities of liberalism as a political and social ideology – even as it reminds us why this matters for Canadians (and many others) in the twenty-first century.
This book breaks new ground with its focus on wildlife conservation and Indigenous communities in Ontario, a surprisingly understudied area. The author’s exemplary archival work also sheds new light on the conflict between the federal government’s treaty obligations toward First Nations and a provincial government determined to restrict wildlife harvesting. Who Controls the Hunt? is essential reading for anybody interested in Indigenous history, legal history, and the politics of wildlife conservation in Canada.
Foreword / Graeme Wynn
1 First Nations Hunting Activity in Upper Canada and the Robinson Treaties, 1783–1850
2 Ontario’s Game Laws and First Nations, 1800–1905
3 First Nations, the Game Commission, and Indian Affairs, 1892–1909
4 Traders, Trappers, and Bureaucrats: The Hudson’s Bay Company and Wildlife Conservation in Ontario, 1892–1916
5 The Transitional Indian: Duncan Campbell Scott and the Game Act, 1914–20
6 R. v. Padjena: Local Pressure and Treaty Hunting Rights in Ontario, 1925–31
7 R. v. Commanda, 1937–39
Appendices; Notes; Bibliography; Index
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