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Parks Canada signs agreement with First Nations, opens door to harvesting in Jasper

Parks Canada and two First Nations have signed an agreement that points to a stronger Indigenous voice in parks management and opens the door to harvesting in Jasper National Park in western Alberta.

The agreement, which renews an age-old treaty between the Stoney Nation in Alberta and Simpcw First Nation in British Columbia, is to be marked later this month in a ceremony, which will involve the hunting of a small number of elk, deer and mountain sheep. 

Parks Canada spokesman Mark Young says the agreement is part of a larger move within the agency to reopen lands to First Nations from which they were removed when the parks were created.

He says it will help recreate the kind of ecology that existed for thousands of years.

Chief George Lampreau of the Simpcw says his people were stewards of that land for centuries and are deeply committed to keeping it healthy.

The ceremony will also renew an ancient treaty between the Simpcw and the Stoneys under which the two First Nations agreed to share that landscape and the food and medicines it provided. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 17, 2023.

The Canadian Press

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