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Ronald Edward Sparrow

Environment and Natural Resources (2011)

He began his career as a commercial fisher on the Fraser River, Musqueam’s traditional fishing area. In pursuing his fishing career Mr. Sparrow was always aware of Aboriginal fishing rights and the restricted regulatory framework favouring commercial fishing. He engaged in a protest against the harsh restrictive framework prescribed by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and over six years took the case from trial to a Supreme Court of Canada judgment generally known as the Sparrow Case. Aboriginal fishing rights have priority over commercial and sport fishing now and the Sparrow Case has become the seminal case on the rights of First Nations. The case has been relied upon numerous times by Canadian judges to determine the rights of First Nations people under section 35 of the Canadian Constitution.