October 20, 2020
Dear Mi’kmaw Nation & Sipekne’katik First Nation,
The Squamish Nation stands in solidarity with Mi’kmaq fishers. We join in you in your calls for immediate action by governments and law enforcement.
The Squamish Nation profoundly condemns the racist, violent attacks on our Mi’kmaq relatives that have taken place over the last several days at the hands of non-Indigenous fishers, and calls upon the federal and provincial governments to take immediate action in protecting your inherent rights, lives, and safety of your Mi’kmaq fishers, including members of the Sipekne’katik First Nation.
“What the Mi’kmaq have been subjected to over the past week — both the violent actions of the non-Indigenous fishers, and the inaction of the federal and provincial governments and the RCMP — is nothing short of abhorrent. We stand in solidarity with our Mi’kmaq relatives, today and always,” says Chris Lewis, Squamish Nation Spokesperson.
The attacks on your Mi’kmaq fishers are in direct contravention of the Supreme Court of Canada’s 1999 ruling (R v. Marshall) that protects the Mi’kmaq’s inherent rights to fishing – activities that have been practiced since time immemorial. The law must be upheld by all levels of Government.
These last few days have seen an affront to the legal and constitutionally-protected rights practiced by your Mi’kmaq fisherman to generate a moderate livelihood. Further, the escalating dangerous and violent crimes perpetrated by non-Indigenous people — with minimal intervention by the RCMP — have also threatened the entire Mi’kmaw Nation’s sense of safety, security, and protection.
“The Sipekne’katik First Nation of the Mi’kmaw Nation are leading by example for all First Nations in exercising your Indigenous and treaty rights. You are role models for many First Nations, and we at the Squamish Nation send a message to your people and your fisherman of the Mi’kmaq Nation that you are not alone, and we have your back,” says Khelsilem, Squamish Nation Spokesperson.
This is utterly unacceptable, particularly in a time where our governments tell us that they are working towards reconciliation and giving meaning to the United Nation’s Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
The Squamish Nation calls on all relevant levels of government and their leaders to act quickly and decisively. All levels must stand up against these acts of racism against the Mi’kmaq and affirm and respect Mi’kmaq rights. There is no space for governments to stand by and be complicit as blatant acts of racism and violence are perpetrated. The government must act to uphold the Indigenous and treaty rights of the Mi’kmaq.
Yours in solidarity,
Joshua Joseph Kristen Rivers
Council Co-Chair Council Co-Chair