Nunavut Post

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Indigenous entrepreneur upholds right to harvest salt after cautioning from Parks Canada


Key takeaways: 

  • Melissa Daniels calls the alarm letter ‘offending to me, our country, our ancestors, and the land itself.’
  • Melissa Daniels is an Indigenous entrepreneur who reaps salt from Wood Buffalo National Park to make a bath soak for her hand-crafted skincare goods.
  • She’s defending her liberty to do so after a Parks Canada Warden sent her a note requesting her to stop, noting National Park rules. 

An Indigenous entrepreneur in Fort Smith, N.W.T., wants praise for her harvesting liberties and an apology from Parks Canada after getting a note from a warden requesting her stop collecting salt from Wood Buffalo National Park.

Melissa Daniels is an Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) associate. She utilizes the salt from Wood Buffalo’s salt plains in bath goods for her skincare products. 

“Canada is attempting to destroy my pact rights to harvest from my traditional part, something agreed upon with the Crown since 1899 but has, in practice, been in place since time immemorial,” she advised CBC Trailbreaker host Loren McGinnis. 

Also read: Ex customer at Aurora Village healing camp struggles after returning to Yellowknife

An Indigenous entrepreneur in Fort Smith, N.W.T., wants praise for her harvesting liberties

The letter, which Daniels published on Twitter, was written by a Parks Canada warden and congratulated her on her thriving small business. It then requests her to stop removing salt from the park, noting a national law and Parks Canada’s duty to defend the “ecological integrity” of the salt plains. 

Daniels stated the letter explains why her community has been going for an apology and reparations from Canada for the historical displacement and deprivation of their harvesting rights since the park’s creation.  

A notice on Wood Buffalo’s history, released by the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation the prior year, said, “the Park’s existing co-management systems are not sufficient to meaningfully manage the Park’s violent, fraught past and its direct and cumulative intergenerational impacts on Denésuliné peoples.”   

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