Stand with Mi'kmaq People in Defence of Their Hereditary and Treaty Fishing Rights
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
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.
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.
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.
Rally October 18, 2020.
line up to buy lobster from Mi'kma'ki fishers outside provincial
October 16, 2020.
Kahnawake, Mohawk Territory
Blockade, Serpent River First Nation
Six Nations of the Grand River
This article was published in
Volume 50 Number 40 - October 24, 2020
on Mi'kma'ki: Stand with Mi'kmaq People in Defence of Their Hereditary and Treaty Fishing Rights