- Partner News
- Media Releases
- Mainstream News
October 19, 2020
ANISHINAABE AND DAKOTA TERRITORY, MB — Southern Chiefs Organization (SCO) is demanding the federal government and Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) take immediate and appropriate action to protect the guaranteed and inherent rights of Mi’kmaq Fishers.
“There’s no questioning the harvesting rights of the Mi’kmaq nor is there any disputing their commitment to a sustainable lobster fishery,” said SCO Grand Chief Jerry Daniels. “First Nations have sustainably fished and respectfully managed our resources since the first sunrise, unlike colonial management practices. What we are witnessing is violent, domestic terrorism and overt racism being exhibited by non-Indigenous fishers against First Nation people who have every right to make a living, as is their inherent right.”
SCO is appalled at the lack of action taken to protect Mi’kmaq Fishers after two facilities storing lobster caught by Mi’kmaq fishers were raided and vandalized by a mob of hundreds of non-Indigenous commercial fishers last week. Several traps belonging to Mi’kmaq fishermen have were cut along with other incidents of violence and vandalism, including arson, directed towards members of the Sipekne’katik First Nation.
“Someone must be held accountable and the response from the federal government has been woefully inadequate,” added Grand Chief Daniels. “If Indigenous peoples demonstrated the same level of violence, there would be swift arrests and condemnation. These acts are a direct threat to the livelihood of Turtle Island’s First Peoples, and they disregard our Treaty Rights and the landmark Supreme Court Marshall Decision.”
SCO commends Senator Murray Sinclair’s calls on the federal government and the RCMP to “uphold and enforce the statutory and constitutional laws of Canada, including the Criminal Code and section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982” to protect the rights of Mi’kmaq fishers. Senator Sinclair has also asked the Prime Minister to facilitate dialogue with members of both the Indigenous and non-Indigenous fisheries so they can come together and discuss how they can move forward.
SCO is applauding the leader of the Federal New Democratic Party, Jagmeet Singh, for labelling the acts of violence against the Mi’kmaq as terrorism.
“This federal government is quick to use the word reconciliation but it is coming up short in times such as these,” concluded Grand Chief Daniels. “I call on the Prime Minister and his cabinet to back up their words, and to find the collective courage to do what’s right.”
SCO is encouraging everyone to do whatever they can to support Mi’kmaq rights and the livelihood of First Nation fishers. A list of actions of support can be found in our Backgrounder to this press release.
Grand Chief Daniels and the Chiefs of southern First Nations in Manitoba are planning a rally in support of Mi’kmaq Fishers later this week. Details to follow.
The Southern Chiefs’ Organization represents 34 First Nations in what is now called southern Manitoba. SCO is an independent political organization that protects, preserves, promotes, and enhances First Nations peoples’ inherent rights, languages, customs, and traditions through the application and implementation of the spirit and intent of the Treaty-making process.
For Media Inquiries:
Vic Savino, Communications Officer, Southern Chiefs’ Organization
Winnipeg Sub-Office: (204) 946-1869 | Email: [email protected]