Campbell River-area First Nation condemns deer-shooting incident on its reserve

The We Wai Kai Nation has condemned the shooting of a deer by a member on the Quinsam Reserve in Campbell River that was recorded and shown on social media, generating significant public outrage.

“On November 17, 2017, a member of the We Wai Kai Nation and resident of the Quinsam reserve in Campbell River discharged a firearm on reserve for the purposes of harvesting a deer,” the Nation statement says. “The Chief and council of We Wai Kai Nation wish to make clear that they in no way authorize the use and discharge of firearms on We Wai Kai reserve lands.

“Further, Chief and council wish to express that the events of November 17, 2017 are not representative of the people of We Wai Kai Nation or our traditional harvesting practices. Indeed, the community has expressed outrage over this incident.”

Related story: Viral video shows deer killed on Snapchat in Campbell River

An investigation is currently taking place, led by the RCMP and the BC Conservation Officer Service. The We Wai Kai Nation has co-operated with local law enforcement to the fullest extent possible, the Nation’s statement says.

The use of firearms within the Nation’s communities is prohibited and the Nation has gone to great lengths to teach its youth firearm safety and proper hunting etiquette. Chief and council intend to continue its efforts to ensure that harvesting animals for food, social and ceremonial purposes is carried out using both safe and humane practices.

Chief Brian Assu explained, “This is an unfortunate event. We aren’t clear why this individual did what he did – but we are going to do our part to ensure that it doesn’t happen again by taking culturally appropriate action … Our People have been harvesting wildlife on our lands since time immemorial. Our traditional teachings include protocols and rules around how, when and where we harvest. Hunting is critical to our well-being – we rely on our harvest to provide food for our families and to practise our culture. However, discharging a firearm to harvest in our residential community is not acceptable and the membership as a whole is distraught over these events. While we are disappointed that this individual conducted himself in the manner that he did, we ask that people remember that the Nation cannot control the actions of an individual. We can however condemn those actions and take the necessary steps to help prevent a situation such as this from occurring in the future.”

The We Wai Kai Nation said it is currently reviewing its policies and bylaws regarding community safety to ensure that the community remains safe for residents and visitors.

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