North Slave Métis President 'absolutely elated' by court decision
N.W.T. Supreme Court ruling supports the need for consultation about Bathurst caribou harvest restrictions
The North Slave Métis Alliance are calling a N.W.T. Supreme Court ruling a huge victory for their aboriginal rights.
Earlier this week, Justice Shannon Smallwood ruled that the group should have been consulted when a decision was made in 2010 to restrict the Bathurst caribou harvest to the Yellowknives Dene and the Tlicho.
Bill Enge, President of the North Slave Métis Alliance, argued the decision went against their constitutional rights. Justice Smallwood agreed.
"The North Slave Métis people are the only Métis people in all of the Northwest Territories that have legally recognized Section 35 aboriginal rights," Enge said. "We had to fight every step of the way to get this recognition.
"It's time for the government of the Northwest Territories to stop oppressing the North Slave Métis people, grow up and do the right thing; recognize our rights and deal with us just like our other aboriginal counterparts in the Northwest Territories."
The decision doesn't force the government to hand over caribou tags to the Métis, but it does mean there needs to be more consultation in the future.
The territorial government has 30 days to appeal the decision.