By federal legislation in 1930, the Prairie provinces gained jurisdiction over Crown lands within their borders, a privilege reserved to the federal government since the acquisition of Rupert's Land in 1870. In establishing the Natural Resources Transfer Act, the federal government required the provinces to honour treaties guaranteeing Native fishing, hunting, and trapping rights in all seasons on unoccupied Crown lands. However, the terms confirming these rights were augmented by the words "for food," thus implying a limitation of these Native practices in a way not consistent with the original treaties. The provinces subsequently applied a narrow definition to this commitment in an attempt to enforce provincial game and fishing regulations and prosecute Native offenders of these laws.

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