We at Coady Institute and StFX Extension Department are appalled by the hatred and racism that has been exhibited toward Sipekne’katik First Nation fishers and their families this week. These deliberate acts of violence, interference, and intimidation have no place in our society.
We know from more than a century of work with local fisheries that Mi’kmaq and commercial fishers have a long history of collaboration and joint research and that both groups share a strong desire for a sustainable fishery. We also recognize the impact that changing markets, technologies, and climate have had on the fishery sector and appreciate the deep sense of vulnerability felt by all fishing communities in the region.
We are all Treaty People with much to learn. Coady and Extension support the inherent right of Mi’kmaq to fish as enshrined in the Peace and Friendship Treaty of 1752 which assured the Mi’kmaq and Maliseet peoples of their right to fish and hunt and establish trade. This right was further clarified in the Marshall Decision of 1999 as a right, not just to hunt and fish for sustenance, but also as a right to earn a moderate livelihood from the fishery.
We all share a responsibility to educate ourselves and others on Mi’kmaq treaty rights. We stand ready to support peacebuilding measures which include meaningful dialogue between all parties.