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Photo Credit: Dennis Jarvis, October 13, 2020

Government action needed to end violence against Mi'kmaq fisheries

The conflict between the commercial fisherman and the Mi'kmaq fisheries in Nova Scotia is another violent dispute involving Indigenous peoples in Canada. The Mi'kmaq, along with other Indigenous Canadians, continue to struggle to get their treaty rights recognized. The Mi'kmaq people were treated with cruelty and unjustly violated for participating in lobster fishing outside of the regular season. Justin Trudeau and the RCMP must act to halt the escalating violence. The Mi'kmaq have every right to fish in the waters of Nova Scotia to provide a moderate livelihood, as stated in the original treaties agreed upon in 1752


The issue around Indigenous fishing rights in Nova Scotia originates over 20 years ago. Donald Marshall Jr was arrested in 1993 for fishing without a license and outside of the regular season. The case eventually made it to Canada's Supreme Court, where a decision was made using 18th-century treaties as the guideline. The Supreme Court decision in 1999 sided with Marshall, stating that the Mi'kmaq and other Indigenous groups in Nova Scotia have the right to fish and maintain a moderate livelihood. The 1999 ruling certified fishing rights for Eastern Canada bands, including the Mi'kmaq, Maliseet, and Passamaquoddy.


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