NTI calls on Ottawa to protect the rights of Mi’kmaq fishers

“The Government of Canada has spoken loudly in favour of reconciliation, but the essence of reconciliation is respect for the rights of Indigenous peoples”

Hunters from Iqaluit successfully land a bowhead whale in 2018. “Like the Mi’kmaq, NTI has worked for 21 years to ensure Inuit fishing rights recognized and protected under the Nunavut Agreement are formally implemented,” NTI said in a release this week, showing solidarity with Mi’kmaq lobster fishers in Nova Scotia. (File photo)

By Nunatsiaq News

Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. is calling on the federal government to uphold the rule of law to allow Mi’kmaq fishers in Nova Scotia to exercise their harvesting rights, free of harassment and violence.

The Sipekne’katik First Nation launched its own lobster fishery last week, marking the 21st anniversary of a Supreme Court ruling that upheld the treaty rights of Indigenous groups in eastern Canada to harvest in order to secure “a moderate livelihood.”

That move has sparked anger among the province’s non-Indigenous lobster fishers, who want the authorities to ban any harvesting while the season is closed, typically from May to November. There have been a number of reports of fishers vandalizing and removing Sipekne’katik lobster traps from St. Mary’s Bay, about 250 kilometres west of Halifax.

Nunavut’s Inuit birthright organization said it condemns the violence and hostility against Mi’kmaq fishers. In a Sept. 23 release, NTI called on Fisheries and Oceans Minister Bernadette Jordan and the RCMP to intervene in the case.

“As a constitutionally protected land claim holder, we are watching this escalating situation very closely,” NTI said in the release.

“Like the Mi’kmaq, NTI has worked for 21 years to ensure Inuit fishing rights recognized and protected under the Nunavut Agreement are formally implemented through the draft Nunavut Fishery Regulations.

“The Government of Canada has spoken loudly in favour of reconciliation, but the essence of reconciliation is respect for the rights of Indigenous peoples,” the organization said.

“NTI calls on the Government of Canada to take immediate actions to protect the right of Mi’kmaq fishers and to uphold the rule of law, and to continue to build trust and sustainable partnerships and to further the goal of reconciliation between the government and Indigenous peoples.”

The RCMP has said it’s monitoring the situation, while DFO officials have met with the Sipek’nekatik First Nation’s leadership.

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(17) Comments:

  1. Posted by The new NTI on

    If Inuit want to get the attention of NTI, they should get on indigenous Twitter and Facebook and use really good buzzwords and emojis. It seems to be the only way NTI will take notice.

    • Posted by Hello Tweeter on

      It’s classism, not based on economic status so much as educational and social place, as per fidelity to ‘right speak’

  2. Posted by Kivalliq on

    A number of hunters are pretty much abusing our rights to sell large number of caribou in the last few years. NTI should work on setting limits on the number of commercial caribou tags for each community & individual hunter.
    Quite a few locals are not happy about this practice which is not very traditional.

    • Posted by Kivalliq really on

      This article is about the Mikmaq and their rights to harvest whatever, whenever, and then you put in the comments section about limiting Inuit to what they can and can’t harvest. Why do you think Inuit can’t harvest Polar Bear 12 months of the year… Why are there extreme quotas put in place for caribou in certain herds in Nunavut. This isn’t about not letting them harvest, It’s about not letting them harvest during the mating/reproductive season. NTI stands behind this group and then in the same breath tightens hunting limits for Bluenose East caribou herd down to a piddly amount.

  3. Posted by Northern Guy on

    Yet another example of the kind of virtute signalling that has become all too common from an organization that is trying its hardest to recast itself as the “woke voice” of all indigenous peoples in Canada. NTI is better served by focusing on the issues that matter to its constituents as they are the only reason that the organization even exists.

  4. Posted by Pathetic on

    Nothing wrong with nti supporting the mi’kmaq fishermen. But it’s their silence on matters of inuit in nunavut that’s disgusting. It’s time for Aluki and friends to stop playing ITK politics and start talking to people in her own backyard.

    • Posted by Jay Arnakak on

      nti is not to blame for the institutional negligence: it is not even part of the problem. think again.

  5. Posted by Same on

    Should everyone have the same rights?

    • Posted by Tulugak on

      In Canada’s colonial state, not everyone has the same rights. Indigenous people have been dispossessed and now is the time to reaffirm their rights as people. The Mi’kmawq have a treaty with the colonial crown and Canada has been ignoring the terms of the treaty. A treaty creates rights and it’s about time that the governments adibe with its terms.

      • Posted by Hot Bed on

        Too bad they have to use illegal nets for this non-traditional harvest. I agree that without judicial activism there’s not much case for this fishery at all.

      • Posted by Same on

        As a member of the human race we should all have the same rights. Race should have nothing to do with it. Isn’t this the whole reason for the protests and BLM movement to make everyone equal.

  6. Posted by Moderate Living on

    Minimum wage earns about $25000 a year in Nova Scotia. That is all the Mikmaq should be regulated to fish per adult. Historically they did not fish lobster at all. This is what happens with judicial activism on the Supreme Court of Canada.

    • Posted by Wow on

      Just wow! You really do not want to see Mi’kmaq do well do you? Thank goodness you do not sit on any Supreme Court as a judge or as a Premier for NS.
      I’d like the thank the Premier of NS for his apology, it’s a first step in the right direction.

  7. Posted by Colin on

    Still so much racism in NS, a big fishing company that has a huge monopoly is threaten by a few lobster traps, giving the FN people some rights scares them.
    So much ignorance still so strong in the minds of the former Europeans, still using their colonial mindset.
    Not going to change for a long time, parents teaching their kids to be racist, majority of them don’t even know the history or the treaty rights but still have a huge opinion on how the FN should do things.

    We need to work together and support each other, we are not many as indigenous people, if they can walk all over their rights in NS they will think they can do the same over here. We need to help each other to make sure the treaties, agreements are used and followed.

    • Posted by Not Racism on

      Your post labeling everyone of European decent who questions this ‘right’ racist is actually the definition of racist. This word people are throwing around now without any regard to what it means or context l everytime someone of Caucasian decent questions any indigenous assertion undermines your credibility and detracts from your argument. Yell racism as much as you like, but a right to a moderate livelihood is undefined and has been for too long. Non indigenous fishermen are entitled to complain that they don’t like fishing off season to compel DFO to regulate appropriately and have the MM use the right to a moderate livelihood during the fishing season only.
      .
      The truth is people like you don’t want a debate or careful review of the issues. Just scream and holler racism until white guilt maybe gives you want you want. The time for that is over, you’ll have honored what was promised and nothing more.

      • Posted by Patty on

        Even the Premier of NS is apologizing for all the racism, if you can’t see that there is still racism then you are part of the problem, being unable to admit that there is a problem helps to keep racism alive.
        Still too many people like you that try to hide racism, it’s really not healthy.

  8. Posted by Colin on

    So what decent are they the ones cutting trap lines, stealing traps, trying to ram boats and firing flares at boats and people?
    I think it’s these European descendants , I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings or it’s difficult to face what these people are doing and calling it out for what it is.
    There is a lot of educating that needs to be done to get rid of all the ignorance and intolerance with these people. It has gone in for far too long and continues today.

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