October 29, 2020: The Robinson Huron Waawiindaamaagewin Chiefs condemn the acts of terrorism against the Mi’kmaq leaders, fishers and communities and pledge our support to the Sipekne’katik First Nation in upholding their pre-existing, unextinguished, inherent indigenous rights to fish.
The Robinson Huron Waawiindaamaagewin Chiefs also call on the Prime Minister to take an active role in resolving this conflict. The Prime Minister has gone on record stating that no relationship is more important than the one with Indigenous peoples yet he has done nothing of substance to assist the Mi’kmaq in the attack on their constitutionally protected rights and their livelihood.
The Mi’kmaq have been the target of hate crimes perpetuated by mob mentality and it is the offenders who have been protected. We have lost confidence in the RCMP’s ability to do their job and to protect the Mi’kmaq from these acts of terrorism. RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki has been complacent in her role and must be replaced with someone who can not only protect all Canadians, including Indigenous peoples, but someone who can combat the racism that is prevalent within the RCMP.
In addition, non-Indigenous commercial fishers should be sanctioned and held accountable for their racist and illegal actions. Their licensing process must include education on treaty rights because it is clear that they do not understand the Mi’kmaq’s treaty rights. This is part of a larger issue of systemic discrimination that must be addressed or nothing will change. A plan to address this is urgently needed now.
More recently a federal negotiator was appointed without the input of the Mi’kmaq on this selection process. If the federal government is sincere about reconciliation, they must at minimum ensure that the federal representative appointed as a negotiator is acceptable to the Mi’kmaq and further that the representative be given a strong terms of reference to do the job.
The federal government has an opportunity to get this right and they are running out of time. We call on the Prime Minister to consult with the Mi’kmaq leaders on an appropriate negotiator, to replace RCMP Commissioner Lucki and to ensure that the non-Indigenous commercial fishers are both held accountable and educated on treaty rights.
The Robinson Huron Waawiindaamaagewin Chiefs also call on the public to boycott any lobster that is not caught by indigenous fishers.
We stand in solidarity with the Mi’kmaq and want them to know that we are here and we pledge our support.