Nisga’a Lisims Government calls on Prime Minister to act in N.S. fisheries dispute

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The Nisga’a Nation is calling on the federal government to do more to protect Mi’kmaw fishers during the ongoing moderate livelihood fisheries dispute in Nova Scotia.

“We are shocked by what’s happening in Nova Scotia,” said Eva Clayton, president of Nisga’a Lisims Government (NLG) in an Oct. 22 media release.

“NLG Executive stands in solidarity with the Sipekne’katik Fist Nation and Mi’kmaw fishers. Canada, Nova Scotia, and the RCMP must protect people from violence and intimidation, support their right to fish, and honour their agreements with First Nations.”

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The Sipekne’katik are conducting a lobster fishery outside of the federally regulated season based on a 1999 Supreme Court of Canada decision that said East Coast Indigenous groups have the right to fish for a “moderate livelihood,” though a second ruling stated this was subject to federal regulation.

The statement follows a tense week in the Atlantic province where non-Indigenous protesters clashed with Sipekne’katik fishers and vandalized property.

Clayton said that the violence in N.S. is evidence of systemic racism and is unacceptable.

“We call on [Prime Minister Justin Trudeau] to respond to the situation in Nova Scotia with action, not words,” she said in the release.

The Nisga’a Nation has managed its own fishery since 1992.

With files from Quinn Bender

Ben Bogstie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Interior News