South of kilometre 35, the Gaspard-Churn Road is closed to motor vehicles for the purposes of hunting.
Walking that road with my two daughters on the weekend, I met two elders from the Alkali Lake Band who said motor vehicle restrictions did not apply to them because of their native status. I didn’t think their elite harvesting privileges allowed them to violate motor vehicle restrictions, so I said I would report them to the Conservation Officers Service.
They drove away and came back to drive up and down the road with three trucks, a double ATV and music blaring.
Feeling intimidated and harassed we left to call the COS, who found the indigenous hunters in the area where motor vehicles are prohibited.
No charges were laid because it was assumed the court would favour the band with legislation of more special privileges.
When I was old enough to walk I followed my father over the hills and through the canyons around Williams Lake, as he had learned to hunt from his father, so I have come to see myself as a native in every way besides race.
I have always resented the elite harvesting privileges enjoyed by band members, while striving to resist the hatred that results from racial inequality.
My fiancee and I stopped for a stranded member of the Alkali Lake Band last spring and spent an hour driving him to his house to fetch a spare tire.
I hope I would stop again another time, but it is easy to rise above racism when you’re not confronted by it in a way that matters to you personally.