Ojibway man’s native rights asserted

The {Public} Sphere

Originally published in the Tow Row Times on December 23, 2014.


The U.S. government has recommended to dismiss charges of possessing wildlife without a licence against an Ojibway man from the Nippissing First Nation residing in the Town of Attica, New York.

On Feb. 10, 2014, nine Department of Environmental Conservation officers and one Fish and Wildlife Services agent raided John Volpe’s home and confiscated 105 baby snapping turtles and dozens of stuffed birds. They also took down Eagle feathers considered sacred from his sweat lodge and tossed around a 300-year-old wooden pipe “like it was a baseball,” he said in a phone interview.

Volpe, 62, was charged with 190 state and seven federal violations of the Environmental Conservation Law.

However, on Dec. 19, the federal government recommended for the courts to dismiss the federal charges on the grounds that his Native American descent gives him the right to…

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