Two area First Nations issue unity statements in support of lobster fishing in Nova Scotia

·2 min read

Emily Whetung, Chief of Curve Lake First Nation, along with Chief Kelly LaRocca of Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation have penned letters of support of Mi’kmaq over the long disputed lobster fishing in Nova Scotia.

Both statements declare the Mi’kmaq are exercising their treaty rights to fish a month before commercial fishing in the area begins. According to the statement on behalf of Curve Lake First Nation the band council recognizes that we all benefit from resources provided by Mother Earth across Turtle Island and all of creation is sacred. Chief Kelly LaRocca said in her statement that the declaration of a state of emergency by the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs was the result of too long a wait for legislative change that would honour the treaties.

“We stand in solidarity with them and hope you will join us in educating your families and communities about the raids in Mi’kma’ki (Atlantic Canada) it is important this topic stay alive in your conversations within your homes,” reads the statement from Chief LaRocca.

She also went on to say the RCMP should properly protect the Mi’Kmaq from violence and prevent the privilege of one segment of people over another.

“We call upon the local non-indigenous fisherman to let cooler heads prevail.” said Chief LaRocca.

According to Section 25 of the Canadian Constitution, the Supreme Court Marshall decision and the respect of the Mi’Kmaq peoples have the right of entitlement to their waters. Both Chiefs and band councils call on the Canadian government to act on the treaty rights of the Mi’kmaq. Chief Whetung went on to state that the Mi’kmaq did not surrender to the Crown or the Canadian Government by land cession treaties.

“The non-Indigenous cannot interfere with this constitutionally protected right,” she wrote in the statement.

On Thursday, Oct. 22, the Nova Scotia Supreme Court issued an interim injunction to allow the Mi’kmaq to exercise their treaty rights to fish for lobster for food and financial stability.

“Having recently had our harvesting rights and our Treaty with Canada reaffirmed, we understand and support in trying to create a moderate livelihood,” said Chief Whetung.

She also said it is important for First Nations in Canada to support each other in protecting our rights.

“It is necessary for those rights to be recognized and respected by all Canadians.”

Natalie Hamilton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Peterborough This Week