Police investigate report of fishermen harassing Indigenous women, kids on Fraser River

Woman claims the fisherman exposed themselves

A small group of Indigenous women and children were cutting and cleaning fish at the side of the Fraser River on Saturday when they reportedly became victims of harassment and indecent exposure.

Seabird Island woman Stacy McNeil used Facebook to share details of the harrowing experience on the river.

After fishing for sockeye all day, McNeil, her two sons, a female family member and her son had set up a small fish camp when, according to McNeil’s post, a group of five sports fishermen anchored their boat in front of the camp and began having ‘loud, obnoxious conversations’ filled with expletives.

“So many sports fishermen come and park in the exact same spot or near it, and there’s always loud laughter,” McNeil said. “We see it quite often and I just thought, ‘oh here we go again.’ We just kept doing our work. But this [group] got more obnoxious.”

When the woman asked them to stop using foul language in front of the children, the men allegedly began urinating in front of the group, making lewd suggestions to the women and continuously exposing themselves.

“They had no fear in front of us women and children,” McNeil wrote.

The men also allegedly began a series of racist verbal attacks.

“According to them, we are dumb Indians who are stealing all of the fish, getting free fish and free gas,” wrote McNeil. “More and more words slandering our people and culture occurred.”

McNeil said this type of behaviour on the river encourages division between First Nations and sport fishers.

“It’s really challenging because we already know how a lot of sport fishermen feel about us and our traditional right to fish and feed our families,” she said. “Having stuff like that happen just exasperates that, and then we feel even more uncomfortable being out there.”

Eventually boats of Indigenous fishermen from the group’s Union Bar reserve came out, circling the offenders and asking them to move along, which they did – but only after exposing themselves to the group once again.

McNeil claims that the men were drinking and clearly intoxicated. She called RCMP and said she was told to send in the images she took of the alleged offenders.

Hope RCMP confirmed that there is an active investigation into the incident.

McNeil said incidents like this are bad for everyone who uses the river. She believes a good relationship between Indigenous and sport fishers is possible, but needs to be actively enforced.

“I did get a lot of comments and messages from people that are sport fishermen that are absolutely against this kind of behaviour, and we do have…relations with some sports fishermen and sturgeon fishermen that are well behaved,”she said. “But there’s some out there that I don’t think will ever comply with those things.”

“The biggest issue is that there is no enforcement on the water, there is never anybody out there checking on the fishermen, on the practices they’re using, on their behaviour. [The Department of Fisheries and Oceans] is not out there. No one is out there.”

“Enough is enough,” McNeil stated in her post. “Our fishing grounds are sacred…sports fisherman should not fish near our traditional sites. Stop the disrespect.”

Related: Boat of missing Stó:lō Grand Chief found in Fraser River, 17 years after death

Related: Seabird joins bid to block chinook sport fishing

Signoff

Just Posted

Parent concerned over privacy breach is a candidate for Chilliwack school board

Brian Mielke said sharing of student names with U.S. research firm shows trustees disregarding law

Chilliwack athletes run in the rain at first cross-country race

Dozens of elementary/middle/high schoolers tackled a mucky course next to Twin Rinks last Thursday.

Fraser River First Nations say they aren’t getting their share of sockeye

Shortage is a result of decisions made by DFO, not a shortage of sockeye, complaint says

Chilliwack Chiefs benefit from BCHL Showcase exposure

Carter Wilkie’s first BCHL goal Saturday against Wenatchee earned him talks with several NCAA scouts.

Surging Okanagan Sun stop slumping Valley Huskers

A blocked punt set the tone for the Sun in a BC Football Conference game at the Apple Bowl.

Video: Flyers new mascot ‘Gritty’ a bearded, googly-eyed terror

The Philadelphia Flyers unveiled their new mascot Monday, and as one would expect of the team that gave us the “Broad Street Bullies,” he’s far from cuddly.

Edmonton cannabis company revenues more than triples to $19.1 million

Aurora Cannabis revenues more than triple in fourth quarter

B.C. pharmacist suspended for giving drugs with human placenta

RCMP had samples of the seized substances tested by Health Canada

Seattle one step closer to NHL after arena plan approved

Seattle City Council unanimously approved plans for a privately funded $700 million renovation of KeyArena

Harvest Moon to light up B.C. skies with an ‘autumn hue’

It’s the first moon after the autumn equinox

Hockey league gets $1.4M for assistance program after Humboldt Broncos crash

Program will help players, families, coaches and volunteers after the shock of the deadly crash

Canada has removed six out of 900 asylum seekers already facing U.S. deportation

Ottawa had said the ‘overwhelming majority’ had been removed

Appeal pipeline decision but consult Indigenous communities, Scheer says

The federal appeals court halted the Trans Mountain expansion last month

Most Read