The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs calls on Canada to immediately honour and uphold the Treaty Rights of the Mi’Kmaw Nation
October 19, 2020
Treaty One Territory, Manitoba
Treaty One Territory, Winnipeg, MB – The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) continues to express its outrage at the disgusting and disgraceful settler colonial violence perpetuated against the Mi’Kmaw as they exercise their constitutionally protected Treaty Right to fish for a moderate livelihood. The AMC is also very disappointed by the lack of federal oversight demonstrated by the Prime Minister and his Ministers, and by the comments from this morning’s press conference with four Federal Ministers. The AMC continues to stands in full support of the Assembly of Mi’Kmaw Chiefs and with all Mi’Kmaw First Nations as they assert and exercise their Treaty Right to fish as outlined in their peace and friendship treaties going back to the 1700s and as upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada.
AMC Grand Chief Arlen Dumas says, “I first and foremost continue to express my complete support on behalf of the AMC for the Mi’Kmaw Nation in their ongoing fight to exercise their Treaty Rights. I also stand with Chief Sack and the Sipekne’katik First Nation as they play an important leadership role in this struggle that will reverberate across the country and influence the implementation and exercise of First Nations’ Treaty Rights across the country. The AMC and the Chiefs in Manitoba are outraged at the wide-spread violence perpetuated against Chief Sack and the Mi’Kmaw. We commend our Mi’Kmaw brothers and sisters as they demonstrate incredible restraint in the face of this racist violence, and as they continue to peacefully exercise their rights as their ancestors have done since time immemorial. The events that have taken place in Mi’Kmawki territory over the weekend, and over the last several weeks, are an affront to common decency and a violation of the sacred Treaty relationship. The AMC stands with Chief Sack in his call for Canada’s military to defend the constitutionally protected rights of the Mi’Kmaw that have been upheld twice by the Supreme Court of Canada.”
AMC Grand Chief Dumas added, “at today’s press conference, the Ministers made continuous reference to the rights of the licensed harvesters and to listening to the commercial fishers concerns; the Ministers defended and excused the actions of the RCMP as they stood by while Chief Sack was being assaulted, while Mi’Kmaw fishers were threatened and intimidated and while the fishery compound was burned to the ground. The Ministers also said that they will not negotiate in public on Treaty Rights and they continued to express confidence in the RCMP Commissioner while denying the requests from Chief Sack to bring in the military to ensure protection and peace. Minister Blair said the Coast Guard would be available to assist. While I appreciate the Minister’s comments that the Mi’Kmaw have been let down by the RCMP and that those responsible for the violence will be held accountable, there was also an underlying tone of deflection in the comments by all the Ministers.”
“I will be reaching out to Chief Sack to discuss our common priorities for exercising rights and to discuss how the AMC can be of further support to hold Canada (and the DFO) accountable for the violence and for ensuring that that the Mi’Kmaw rights and concerns take precedence over the enormous commercial fishing industry that has enriched the eastern provinces for over 150 years. We have an important freshwater fishing industry here in Manitoba that also needs to be shared and protected through legislative reform and respect for Treaty Rights,” concluded Grand Chief Dumas.