As the traditional Haudenosaunee Deer hunts take place at Short Hills Provincial Park (located near St. Catharines, ON), LSPIRG would like to issue a statement of support and solidarity.

Indigenous hunts in this area have taken place for many generations and were used as a means to provide for the greater Haudenosaunee community long before settler interference. However, over recent years, these hunts have seen an increase in presence from animal rights activists.  Organized protests have become aggressive and confrontational. Including documented accounts of racism and physical violence. They are organized under the guise of “animal rights” but are steeped in colonization and oppression towards Haudenosaunee Peoples, their traditional lands, and their treaty rights.

As an organization, we are always striving to stand in solidarity with the Indigenous nations of this area (and all across Turtle Island). We support the struggle for sovereignty, defense of the land, maintenance of traditional methods of food sourcing, and cultural traditions. We understand that all of these aspects play into each other, and that a vital and important part of ensuring Indigenous sovereignty is protecting traditional food sources. Including hunting and fishing grounds.

We would like to remind those who are settlers on this land, that attempting to prevent traditional hunts from taking place (or harassing and attacking those who are involved in these hunts) replicates colonial patterns of oppression. Impacting food sources (or preventing access to food sources) has long been a weapon of colonial powers. We have seen this from early settler contact, and we are still seeing this happen today.

We stand in solidarity with the Haudenosaunee hunters who are providing for their communities. We stand in solidarity with supports, who are up before the sun each day with the hunters, making sure they see friendly faces and hear traditional songs while having to move through racist and sometimes physically violent spaces. And we stand in solidarity with all Indigenous Nations fighting to continue accessing and preserving traditional food sources.