Indigenous leaders in Treaty 8 announced their full solidarity and support for the Mi’kmaq Nation in Nova Scotia.
The Sipekne’katik First Nation, who seek to exercise their Treaty Right to fish and the assertion of their livelihood, came into conflict with commercial lobster fishers.
At the Oct. 22 news conference, Treaty 8 Grand Chief Arthur Noskey spoke about the images of the dispute from the province.
He said enough is enough.
“Seeing how the Mi’kmaq people were treated when they were exercising their inherent and treaty rights is very alarming. We are always mindful of the pushback we receive from non-Indigenous people when we exercise our rights. Why is that? Our inherent and Treaty rights are legal ones protected by the law.”
Fishing is one of the four inherent rights along with hunting, trapping, and gathering.
Chief Noskey said the Peace and Friendship Treaty of 1752 and Section 35 of the 1982 Constitution Act guarantee the Mi’kmaq rights.
The Supreme Court also affirmed those rights in a 1999 ruling saying Mi’kmaq may fish for a “moderate livelihood”.
“From the Peace and Friendship Treaties to the Numbered Treaties, why is it always the case that First Nations can’t count on the Treaty partner to uphold their end of the Treaty relationship? We will not allow our Treaty partner, the British Crown, to continue to ignore their obligations.”
He called on the federal government to uphold the rights of the Mi’kmaq people, ensure their safety, and address the threats and attacks.
“Why is it that in 2020 we still have this resistance? It is the lack of education and understanding of International Treaties.”
Chief Noskey also said the events in Nova Scotia may have implications in northern Alberta.
He expressed concern with proposed changes to the school curriculum and Bill 1.
Chief Noskey said Indigenous people are the ‘Red Tape’ in the Alberta government’s so-called ‘Red Tape Reduction’ legislation.
“It’s time for the Crown to realize and recognize the relationship and engage in that process. We’ve been nations that have been left behind in the prosperity of Alberta and Canada.”
Chief Noskey also called on oil and gas, forestry, and industry to dialogue with Indigenous peoples.
“The Honour of the Crown is not being upheld in Canada and further the provinces are also trying to limit their obligations under Treaties. We further request that the Governor-General as the Queen’s representative in Canada and all Lieutenant Governors who play a similar role in the legislative assemblies within the provinces are included in this meeting as their responsibilities are to be your representatives in Canada and to ensure the Treaty obligations are being met.”
Chief Noskey called on Sovereign Nations 1-11 to reunite in support of the Mi’kmaq people.