- Category: news
- Created: Tuesday, 17 September 2013 13:28
- Published: Tuesday, 17 September 2013 13:28
- Written by Administrator 3
- Hits: 643
Organizers of a controversial First Nation smoke shop will be in Brandon court Tuesday.
The Dakota Chundee shop, located on off-reserve land near Pipestone, Manitoba, has been selling untaxed cigarettes without a licence since 2011.
Craig Blacksmith, one of the organizers charged under the tobacco tax act, defends the action, saying Dakota people don't fall under provincial jurisdiction.
"The onus is on the province to prove its jurisdiction first," he said. "We've been waiting for that for two years, and we haven't been able to produce any kind of documentation that they have jurisdiction over us."
He said if Dakota Chundee wins its case, it will be a huge victory for First Nations, who want to operate under their own laws.
"It's gonna be huge for our people," he said. "I mean this is probably the biggest event, as far as political-wise, dealing with native people, for the Canadian government."
Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) Grand Chief Derek Nepinak, as well as members of the Dakota community, intend to be at the Brandon court house to show support.
"Dakota people are a sovereign nation and are in a court battle with the provincial and federal governments to protect their indigenous sovereign rights to trade tobacco," states a press release from the AMC.
"This is about economic apartheid built into provincial and federal policy and law against sovereign indigenous peoples."