A judge has ruled that members of the Sinixt First Nation have a right to hunt on their traditional territory in BC.
Applause broke out after Judge Lisa Mrozinski delivered her ruling this morning in a packed Nelson courtroom.
Washington state resident and Sinixt descendant Rick Desautel was charged in 2010 with hunting with a license.
But he was acquitted because the judge said he has proven the Sinixt have an aboriginal right to hunt in BC, and provisions in the Wildlife Act unreasonably infringe upon that right.
Desautel says he’s delighted with the decision.
The Sinixt were declared extinct in Canada in 1956, but Mrozinski said their movement to the Colville reservation south of the border was not voluntary.
The verdict came following a trial last fall that lasted several weeks.