Statement of Solidarity: September 25, 2020 – The Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations stand in solidarity with the Mi’Kmaq as they assert and exercise their Treaty and Inherent Rights to hunt, fish and harvest
The Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations applaud the Sipekne’katik First Nation in their efforts to assert and establish a Mi’kmaq-regulated, lobster fishery. This direct action of exercising Indigenous nationhood and sovereignty has been inspiring and motivating for First Nations across Turtle Island. Our Rights as Indigenous Peoples are given by the Creator and are constitutionally protected, and it is time for the Federal and Provincial Governments to intervene and uphold their own constitution and honour our Treaty Relationship. Stealing, tampering or destroying Mi’kmaq fishermen’s equipment is in direct violation of our rights protected under Section 35 – and further perpetuates violent settler colonialism that our Treaty and Inherent Rights are meant to protect us from.
Treaties of Peace and Friendship were made by the Governor of Nova Scotia with Mi’kmaq, Maliseet and Passamaquoddy communities in Nova Scotia in 1760. These are the same treaties that were upheld and interpreted by the Supreme Court in the Donald Marshall case. They include the right to harvest fish, wildlife, wild fruit and berries to support a ‘moderate livelihood’ for the treaty beneficiaries. While the Mi’kmaq promised not to molest the British in their settlements, the Mi’kmaq did not cede or give up their land title and other rights.
Chief George Ginnish says the tension will not end without a clear acceptance and understanding of Indigenous treaty rights to the lobster fishery.
As Grand Chief of the Confederacy of Treaty Six, who is in full support of the member First Nations of Nova Scotia in the exercising of their Rights on their lands and waters; we endorse and support the request for the full recognition and implementation of their rights as it pertains to hunting, fishing and harvesting. The Federal Government must respond and act on protecting those rights and the Nation’s property as they are obligated to protecting ‘Her said Indians’.
Grand Chief William (Billy) Morin
Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations