By Mervin Brass

(Yorkton, SK) When he was nine-years old Bobby Cameron shot a mule deer buck with a .22 calibre rifle while out hunting with his father.

Bobby Cameron Sr. knew immediately his son’s destiny.

“You will always be a hunter, my boy,” Cameron recalls his father telling him after the taking down the buck. “Each time you kill an animal, give thanks, leave tobacco and always share the animals you kill with your people.”

Since Christmas Eve, the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations 2nd Vice Chief has been delivering elk meat to homeless shelters and safe houses in North Battleford, Prince Albert, Saskatoon, Regina and most recently to Yorkton.

“Back thousands of years ago the hunting party would go and they would hunt and kill as much as they can and bring back the food for those who couldn’t hunt, the less fortunate, the sick and the elderly. And that’s what we’re doing in contemporary times,” says Cameron. “I will continue to hunt until I can’t walk anymore. It’s a good feeling knowing that our people are going to get fed.”

“As soon as we knew someone was coming with wild meat, everybody was like, that’s so nice, and I can’t wait,” says a spokesperson for the women’s shelter. For safety and security reasons she cannot be identified. “We always get donations of clothes, shoes, furniture but not food.”

The donated meat is expected to last for the remainder of the winter.

Bobby Cameron elk

Bobby Cameron with one of the elk.

Last fall, Cameron along with hunters from bands across Saskatchewan hunted for Elk in northern Saskatchewan and southern Alberta near the Cypress Hills region.

“The farmers out there have sent out numerous requests for First Nation hunters to come out and hunt, so we did,” says Cameron. “It’s a win-win situation for everybody involved, we’re taking the meat, the farmers are happy, the elk are leaving, our people are getting fed and some of us like to hunt. I love to hunt.”

When First Nations and the Crown entered into treaty one of the things that the Cree and Saulteaux were adamant about was the continuation of hunting.

“This is probably one of our most important treaty rights,” says Cameron. “The treaty right to hunt is a huge, huge component to any of these treaty signings that took place in the 1870s. This has everything and anything to do with our treaty right to hunting and also sharing. We share and somewhere down the line someone is going to help us out.”

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