Bud Sparrow, a major figure for B.C. First Nations who was a defendant in a Supreme Court case that defined Indigenous fishing rights in Canada, has died.
The Musqueam Nation said in a written statement that Sparrow passed away on Sept. 14, and described him as “a quiet, determined and proud member of Musqueam.”
“As a skilled and accomplished commercial fisher, he travelled up and down the west coast of B.C. to provide for his family and community,” the statement read in part.
Sparrow was the defendant in the renowned “Sparrow Case,” which was decided by the Supreme Court of Canada in 1990.
The case was the first in Canada to consider the nature and scope of Indigenous fishing rights in Canada’s repatriated constitution, and ultimately decided they were “recognized, affirmed and protected as legal rights surviving the colonial era and founding of Confederation.”
Musqueam Chief Wayne Sparrow wrote in the statement that Sparrow “left our people at Musqueam and Indigenous peoples across Canada with a tremendous legal legacy. We will always be grateful for his quiet determination in fighting for our rights.”
Premier John Horgan wrote in a tweet that Sparrow’s courage and leadership “led to an important, precedent-setting Supreme Court of Canada decision that advanced Indigenous rights across the country,” and offered his condolences to the Musqueam Nation.