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Metis Harvesting Update – August 2019

Since the signing of the Metis Harvesting Agreement with Alberta in March 2019, the MSGC Harvesting Committee has had several meetings with the Government of Alberta to work out how the Agreement and Alberta’s new Harvesting Policy will be implemented.  

This agreement states that the Metis Settlements will take on the responsibility of implementing the new Alberta Metis Harvesting Policy which significantly expands the harvesting areas in which approved Metis Harvesters can hunt, fish and trap.  As of September 1, 2019, Settlement members are able to apply for their Harvesting approval at their settlement office instead of having to go to a Government of Alberta Fish and Wildlife office. 

The new Alberta Metis Harvesting Policy replaces the old 160km harvesting radius with 4 large “Harvesting Areas” (see maps below). Members who already have their Harvesting Approval from the Government of Alberta will not need to reapply – the area they can harvest in will automatically expand from 160km radius around their Settlement to one or more of the larger Harvesting Areas. For example, if a member is from Paddle Prairie and was previously approved to harvest within 160km of Paddle Prairie, they will now be able to harvest within the whole of Harvesting Area A.

The Harvesting Policy states that Metis Harvesters must show both an ancestral and current connection to the area in which they would like to harvest. Membership in a Metis Settlement satisfies the current connection requirement, but a family tree is needed to show a pre-1900 ancestral connection. If a member’s family tree shows a pre-1900 ancestral connection to more than one Harvesting Area, they can apply to harvest in multiple Areas. For example, if a member has an ancestral connection to both Harvesting Area A and C, they can apply to harvest in both of those Areas.

The MSGC has been working on the family trees of Settlement members who have agreed to participate in the family tree research. Using Ancestry.ca, the Hudson’s Bay Company archives, and scrip records from Library and Archives Canada/the University of Alberta, the MSGC has been able to build approximately 50 family trees going back several generations to show the historical connections with the lands in what is now the province of Alberta.

If you have not already received Metis Harvester approval and would like to apply, or if you would like to expand your Harvesting Approval to harvest in more than one Area, please contact your Settlement administration office. 

If you would like the MSGC to work on your family tree in support of your application, please contact Caitlyn Supernant (csupernant@msgc.ca / 780-822-4055) or Erin McGregor (emcgregor@msgc.ca / 780-822-4061).

New Harvesting Areas

Harvesting Area A

What do I need to apply to be a Qualified Metis Harvester or to harvest in additional Harvesting Areas?

  • Copy of MSGC membership card or other evidence of membership.
  • Visual check of valid government issued picture ID (e.g. Driver’s Licence) or other documentation verifying place of residence.
  • Copy of Long Form Birth Certificate (includes information about parents)
  • Genealogical record / Family Tree / File number(s) or names of any already approved family member(s)

Harvesting FAQs

Are you a harvester applying to hunt or fish on Crown lands? Do you already have your Metis Harvesting approval? Here are some important things you should know:

Qualified (approved) Metis harvesters can hunt for food year-round, but there might be some species that are not allowed to be harvested because of conservation concerns. Metis harvesters must also follow laws and regulations that are in place about not wasting meat etc.. Harvesters can get information about conservation closures and protected species from Alberta Fish and Wildlife’s Annual Guide to Hunting Regulations, available online or at your local Fish and Wildlife office.

Qualified Metis harvesters must follow all safety regulations that are in place for everyone else (e.g., no discharge of a firearm within 200 yards of an occupied building, no night hunting, no hunting from a road or vehicle, etc.).

All harvesters, whether Treaty, Metis or other, are supposed to report their kills of certain species that are listed under “compulsory registration” in the Annual Hunting Guide (usually cougars, sheep, goat, bobcats, bison, and sometimes wolves).

Qualified Metis harvesters are subject to the federal and provincial laws regulating the export of wildlife from Alberta. Exporting wildlife to other provinces or to the United States or other countries may require special permits.

Qualified Metis harvesters can harvest migratory game birds year-round but all harvesters, including Metis harvesters, are subject to bag limits and other requirements for certain species under the federal Migratory Birds Convention Act and Migratory Birds Regulations. Check the Alberta Annual Hunting Guide for any special limitations, closures etc.

For fishing, Qualified Metis harvesters can obtain a free domestic fishing license from Alberta Fish and Wildlife, the same way Treaty harvesters do. Anyone wanting to fish as a Qualified Metis harvester must still obtain a free domestic license from AB Fish and Wildlife. With this license you can fish with either a rod and reel or a net (your choice).

The domestic fishing licenses are tied to specific water bodies so, when a Qualified Harvester applies for their domestic license, they will be asked by Fish and Wildlife which lakes they want to fish in.

Qualified Metis harvesters are able to harvest on all unoccupied Crown lands within the harvesting area. Some Crown lands (e.g., grazing leases) are ‘occupied’ at certain times of the year and the Metis harvester will need to obtain the necessary access permissions for those lands.

Qualified Metis harvesters are also able to harvest on “other lands to which they have a right of access for hunting” within their harvesting area. This means that if the harvester has permission/right of access to harvest on private lands, they can hunt on those lands as well.

Some Crown lands (e.g. certain types of parks) might not be not open for hunting – if you are unsure if harvesting is allowed in a park, best to contact Alberta Parks or, for federal parks, Parks Canada. Often, the information about what is and isn’t allowed in a park or protected area is available online.

It’s obviously always a good idea for harvesters to tell someone where they will be harvesting for safety reasons, but there is no requirement for harvesters to report where, within their approved Harvesting Area, they are hunting.

For youth or children who want to obtain a Qualified Metis Harvester approval, their application will need to be tied to the membership number of one of their parents. Check with your Settlement office to find out if there are any special requirements for youth/children applications (e.g., parental permission might be required).

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