Local group stands in solidarity with Mi’kmaq lobster fishermen

By Gordon Lambie
Local group stands in solidarity with Mi’kmaq lobster fishermen
(Photo : Gordon Lambie)

Sherbrooke was host to a public demonstration in solidarity with Mi’kmaq lobster fishermen in Nova Scotia on Sunday afternoon. Between 2 and 3 p.m. a group of close to 50 met in front of Sherbrooke’s city hall to raise a banner reading “We are watching. Uphold Treaty #1752” and express a message of concern about the specific case of an attack against a Mi’kmaq lobster fishery by a mob of commercial fishermen in mid October, as well as other indigenous rights issues across the country.
The conflict in Nova Scotia revolves around the right to hunt and fish granted to the indigenous peoples in that province by what is known as the Peace and Friendship Treaty, which was signed in 1752. Local commercial fishermen, who are bound by the federally regulated lobster season, have been engaging in increasingly aggressive behaviour towards the indigenous fishermen in recent months, culminating in the trashing and subsequent burning down of the Mi’kmaq lobster fishery.
The Sherbrooke demonstration was planned as a peaceful, socially distanced, solidarity action meant to raise awareness while also calling on the federal government and appropriate local authorities in Nova Scotia to take action on the situation and uphold treaty rights. The group also called for an end to racially based violence, the prosecution of the commercial fishermen involved, and the restoration of peace and safety within the community. All those who where were present were asked to wear masks and maintain a safe distance from one another as much as possible.
People present on Sunday afternoon also spoke out on the matter of water quality in First Nations communities across the country following the evacuation of 200 people from the Neskantaga First Nation last week. As of Feb. 15 2020, the last time the Government of Canada’s official public count was updated, there were 61 long-term drinking water advisories in effect on reserves across the country.

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