By Lance Stapleton, Senior Western Correspondent
In early September, an announcement by an alliance of 10 Coastal First Nations (out of around 200 bands) in British Columbia caused concern for bear hunters. These First Nations issued a notice of a ban on hunting within their traditional territory (an area called the Great Bear Rainforest) along the central and north coast of BC. This announcement caused quite a stir that requires clarification!
Their issue is limited, at least at this time, to bear hunting, and more specifically to hunting what they call the "Spirit Bear," or the blue or white color-phased black bears, sometimes called Kermode bears. They maintain that hunting is endangering the Kermode bears, and that hunting interferes with eco-tourism, specifically bear watching. However, there are some obvious problems with their ability to actually stop hunting.
First, these bands have no legal jurisdiction to ban hunting since they certainly don't own the huge area from Burke Channel (north of Vancouver Island) and north to the Nass River and as far east as Terrace, BC.....