All Eyes on Mi'kma'ki

Stand with Mi'kmaq People in Defence of Their Hereditary and Treaty Fishing Rights

Halifax, October 18, 2020


Idle No More has called a National Week of Action in support of the Mi'kmaq people's right to fish on their unceded territories. Their callout points out, "The inaction of the federal and provincial government and the RCMP to protect Mi'kmaq people is a violation of Indigenous inherent rights, Treaty rights, and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. This is not reconciliation."

Over 250 years ago the Peace and Friendship Treaty of 1752 enshrined the Mi'kmaq people's right to hunt and fish their lands and establish trade. In 1999, a landmark Supreme Court of Canada ruling, R v. Marshall, recognized that the Mi'kmaq and Maliseet people had the right to hunt, fish and gather for a moderate livelihood.

Governments have for 20 years delayed implementing the court ruling, including by refusing to define what constitutes a "moderate livelihood." Nova Scotia law still prohibits Mi'kmaq from selling what they harvest even though their treaty rights include the right to do so. Meanwhile the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has given Clearwater, North America's largest shellfish producer, a near monopoly on lobster fishing in the region to the detriment of Indigenous and non-Indigenous fishers and of the conservation of the fishery itself.

Faced with government inaction, the Sipekne'katik First Nation became the first to start its own self-regulated moderate livelihood fishery, on the 21st anniversary of the Marshall decision, September 17. Since launching the fishery they have faced intimidation, violent attacks and vandalism, while the RCMP has stood by.

Halifax, NS

Rally October 18, 2020.

People line up to buy lobster from Mi'kma'ki fishers outside provincial legislature,
October 16, 2020.

Fredericton, NB

Saint John, NB

Kahnawake, Mohawk Territory

Ottawa, ON

Kingston, ON

Rolling Blockade, Serpent River First Nation

Toronto, ON

Six Nations of the Grand River

London, ON

Winnipeg, MB

Saskatoon, SK

Southern Saskatchewan

Calgary, AB

Edmonton, AB

Vancouver, BC

Nanaimo, BC

BC West Coast

(Photos: B. Bourdeau, S. Gomez, Spring Mag, Shades of Green, BLM Fredericton, G. Horn, M. Marshall, A. Ede, S. Butler-Hassan, Rose, S. Harris, K. LaPointe, B. Sinclair-Waters, R. Small, Real People's Media, S. Maddocks, K. Legra, C. Hanson, Kahkewistahaw, Alania, Occupy WSIB, M. Dunn, P. Kirman, M. Charleson, D. Ross, King Salmon.)

This article was published in

Volume 50 Number 40 - October 24, 2020

Article Link:
All Eyes on Mi'kma'ki: Stand with Mi'kmaq People in Defence of Their Hereditary and Treaty Fishing Rights


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