Since September 17, fishers of the Sipekne’katik First Nation have been violently targeted by non-Indigenous lobster fishers in Mi’kma’ki (Nova Scotia). On the day the Sipekne’katik First Nation were set to launch their first self-regulated fishery, they were met with violence and intimidation. This violence has escalated into the destruction of Mi’kmaq property, fisheries and resources by non-Indigenous lobster fishers while military personnel and RCMP have sat idly by. The Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario, led by the Circle of First Nations, Métis and Inuit Students, strongly condemn the anti-Indigenous racism and violence in Mi’kma’ki.
Students are united in solidarity with the Mi’kmaq Nation. This violence against Mi’kmaq fishers is a continuation of genocidal tactics that have been used for hundreds of years to undermine Indigenous sovereignty across Turtle Island. The lack of protection of Mi’kmaq fishers is a demonstration of how institutions such as the RCMP, provincial, and federal governments uphold the colonial state. The Sipekne’katik First Nation have a right to fish as protected under the 1752 Treaty of Peace and Friendship, which guarantees the Mi’kmaq right to earn a “moderate livelihood” from hunting and fishing. While non-Indigenous fishers who have carried out these attacks claim to care about conservation, it is clear that their true intent is to maintain power and undermine Mi’kmaq rights. The Sipekne’katik First Nation fishery is meant to feed Mi’kmaq communities with seven licenses and 350 traps, while non-Indigenous traps add up to 487,500. Concerns about conservation should instead be directed at corporations, like Clearwater, who consistently exceed the limits of sustainable fishing. Students see this violence for what it truly is and support Mi’kma’ki rights to moderate livelihood.
Indigenous communities across Turtle Island have said that reconciliation is dead. Violence against the Mi’kmaq Nation needs to end immediately. Anti-Indigeneity must be addressed at its core by dismantling colonialism and recognizing Indigenous sovereignty. The Ontario Circle of First Nations, Métis and Inuit Students stand in solidarity with our Brothers and Sisters in Mi’kma’ki and ask that you do as well. To support Mi’kmaq fishers:
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Subject Line: “1752 Moderate Livelihood”*
*Funds will go to assist in recovering the costs of stolen and damaged Mi’kmaq fishing gear
For more information contact: Jaime Kearns, Circle of First Nations, Métis and Inuit Students Constituency Commissioner, email@example.com