SYDNEY, N.S. – Two Mi’kmaq senators issued a joint statement saying they support the Mi’kmaq Chiefs in Nova Scotia and their rights to make a moderate livelihood.
In the release, senators Dan Christmas of Membertou First Nation and Brian Francis from Lennox Island First Nation stated the Mi’kmaq had treaty rights to hunt, fish and to earn a moderate livelihood. Saying both the Supreme Court of Canada and Section 35 of the Constitution Act (1982) affirmed the nation’s treaty rights.
They compelled the federal government to enter into good faith negotiations with the affirmed rights in mind and to determine with First Nations leaders what moderate livelihood. They wrote that waiting 21 years to define those rights was a failure of meaningful reconciliation.
Sipekne’katik First Nation issued moderate livelihood fishing tags on Thursday that drew the ire of non-Indigenous fishers near St. Mary’s Bay. The protestors claim the process is unfair and the Mi’kmaq contend they’re simply asserting their treaty rights.
The actions of the non-Indigenous protestors have led to the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaw Chiefs to declare a state of emergency.