Emily Carr University supports the Sipekne'katik First Nation, and the inherent right of the Mi'kmaq people to fish in their ancestral waters.
The right of Indigenous people to harvest natural resources, and support a moderate livelihood, was enshrined in the Peace and Friendship Treaty of 1760. This right was reaffirmed in 1999, when the Supreme Court ruled in R v Marshall that Indigenous people have the right to earn a moderate livelihood from fishing. It is hurtful and disturbing to see Indigneous people victimized for exercising these constitutional rights.
We are unsettled and concerned to see the hostility inflicted on Mi'kmaq fishers over the past several weeks, including the vandalism of lobster pounds in New Edinburgh and Middle West Pubnico, NS. These abusive actions, committed by non-Indigenous settlers in Nova Scotia, are rooted in racism.
The federal government, the Government of Nova Scotia and the RCMP have a duty to uphold the constitutional rights of the Mi'kmaq. We call on them to protect Mi'kmaq communities, and to confront the systemic racism that has led to this destructive violence. And we encourage everyone in our community to hold these bodies accountable, by speaking out and supporting the Mi'kmaq people.
We also encourage students who are in need of support to access free, confidential counselling services through the Wellness Centre. Any student who self-identifies as Indigenous is also invited to reach out to the Aboriginal Gathering Place for resources and cultural support.
For anyone who is seeking concrete ways to show their support, a list of community-supported actions are below.
- Follow the Sipekne'katik Moderate Livelihood Fishery on Facebook for updates, and show your support
- Sign the petition in support of the Mi’kmaq people on CollectiveAction.ca
- Send a letter to Prime Minister Trudeau through LeadNow.ca
- Subscribe to Kukukwes.com, an independent Indigenous news organization covering Atlantic Canada
- Make direct donations:
For those who would like to learn more about Indigenous rights, we recommend the following resources as a starting point:
- UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
- Peace and Friendship Treaties
- Section 35 of the Canadian Constitution, affirming the rights of Indigenous peoples
- Indigenous land and rights
- R V Marshall (1999)
Resources above compiled by Charlotte Connolly.