Attacks on Mi'kmaq treaty fishing

===========================

New Brunswick/Nova Scotia "lobster war." - Canada

 

CONTENTS: 2001   October,  Sept.,  Aug.,  July,   June,   April
 
At the invitation of the community, Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) has maintained a violence-reduction team at the fishery since April 2000. You are invited to participate in a CPT delegation to Esgeno�petitj in August 2001.  

UPDATES ] [ Background ] [ Wider implications ] [ 2001 ]
2000 : [ Sept. 26th - Nov. ] [ Sept. 23rd - 25th ] [ Sept. 20th - 22nd ] [ Sept.  1st-19th ] [ August ]
Military actions against First Nations, 1995 ] [ Links to First Nations news, Canada ]
Return to MTN Contents ]

 

PLEASE WRITE:
Hon. Herb Dhaliwal: min@dfo-mpo.gc.ca fax to 613-995-2962
Hon. Robert Nault: Nault.R@parl.gc.ca or fax to 613-996-1759
Hon Jean Chretien: pm@pm.gc.ca or fax to 613-941-6900
Canadian consulate in Chicago: chcgo-ag@dfait-maeci.gc.ca
Please copy all letters to:
cptcan@pop.web.ca
(Christian Peacemakers observer team)
JLarose@afn.ca (Assembly of First Nations)
willi@web.net (Willi is TISG's contact in New Brunswick - she'll share your message in the community)
 




October 2001
===========================

 

An Act of Terrorism was Committed Against Natives



by James Ward
Miramichi Leader newspaper, New Brunswick
October 4, 2001


Sunday, September 16th, an act of war was committed against my people. An act of war that was initiated by non-native fishermen with the silent sanction of the RCMP, DFO and Canadian government.

Approximately 50 large non-native vessels conducted a hostile incursion into Burnt Church waters with the intent of...physically destroying our way of life. The non-natives brought weapons and fired on native fishermen, who were just checking their traps, as soon as the non-natives arrived in our waters. They fired at land where children anxiously watched their fathers, brothers or uncles go out to defend their people. The non-natives tried to run over the little dories used by the Mi'kmaq.

This act of genocidal terrorism is part of an ongoing campaign of Canadian state-directed genocide and forced assimilation waged against the indigenous peoples of these lands.

Canada practices genocide:

Canadians have been conditioned to believe that genocide is just the systematic campaign of hunting down a particular race and herding them off to sites of execution, such as the case for Jewish genocide, or for a military to kill, rape and forcibly evict a particular race from their lands as in the "ethnic cleansing" of Bosnia. Canadians fail to realize that the United Nations accepted definition of genocide includes the systematic targeting for eradication of cultural and social institutions that are defining characteristics for that ethnic group. For instance, to destroy a people's way of life, like hunting and fishing traditions, is a form of genocide because that particular people are being destroyed as a people. The very cultural characteristic that helps define them as a distinct society is being targeted for extinguishment. The Mi'kmaq people have been fighting against the genocide that the Canadian government has waged since its inception.

Terrorism is the unlawful use, or threatened use, of force or violence against individuals or property to coerce or intimidate governments or societies, often to achieve political, religious or ideological objectives.

The unlawful use of violence conducted by the non-native fishermen to coerce my people to capitulate and assimilate into their system is a blaring example of terrorism. The campaign of daily death threats and repeated hostile incursions into our waters is terrorism.

Non-natives exercising Crime against humanity:

Will these non-native fishermen be investigated, let alone charged, for crimes against humanity (for perpetuating genocide) or for terrorism? Will they even be charged for attempted murder? Absolutely not. The RCMP sanctions these acts by allowing, time and time again, for them to happen.

In the last three years since the SCC Marshall decision the non-native fishermen have come into our waters with hostile intentions multiple times.

More than half the time the RCMP escorted them in under the guise of a "peaceful protest". Every single time the non-natives came in they committed acts of violence and/or property damage. Yet, the RCMP continues to play ignorant.

In this last instance the RCMP waited for the non-natives at the edge of our bay and moved out of their way to allow them to pass. The RCMP did nothing to stop the non-natives.

The RCMP adopted the usual role of just watching for natives to conduct the "criminal act" of defending themselves, while turning a blind eye to the criminal activity of the aggressors.

After the act of war was conducted against my people, the RCMP district commander, Kevin Vickers, failed in a racist attempt to protect the non-natives and criminalize the Mi'kmaq by stating only Burnt Church fired shots and the non-natives did not. Mi'kmaq amateur video proved otherwise.

These attacks on my people can not be tolerated. The Mi'kmaq people have been exercising an almost inexhaustible supply of patience and the warriors have conducted themselves with incredible restraint. Since the law enforcement agencies have clearly proven, once again, that they are the enemy and not the protectors, then the Mi'kmaq people have no choice but to aggressively defend themselves and their children by force if force is used against them.


James Ward
Burnt Church

 

 

From: multicom multicom.chelsea@videotron.ca

COMMUNIQU�

 

Arrests Looming as Algonquin Stand-off on Parliament Hill Enters Second Day

Unsurrendered Algonquin Territory (Ottawa-Hull) Friday, October 5, 2001 -- When the Algonquins of Barriere Lake return to Parliament Hill for a second day of camping they face an uncertain fate. The 150 or so members of the remote community in Northwestern Quebec had faced the prospect of arrest for pitching their tents on Parliament Hill.

After a day of tense negotiating, the RCMP managed to talk the Algonquins into tearing down their tents and return to their base camp on Victoria Island on the promise that the RCMP would try and broker a meeting with either the Minister or the Deputy Minister of Indian Affairs.

By late Thursday evening, however, it had become apparent that Indian Affairs Minister Robert Nault had rejected the RCMP requests. Nault appears to be maintaining the hardline adopted by Indian Affairs towards the Algonquins. The Barriere Lake people have been hoping to meet with the Minister for several months to defuse an escalating crisis caused by the Federal decision to walk away on the final stages of implementing an integrated resource management plan (IRMP) for the Algonquin territory.

Nault1s hardline leaves both the Algonquins and the RCMP in a precarious position facing the prospect of conflict when the Barriere Lake people return to the Hill on Friday morning to rebuild their tent compound. The Algonquins had made it clear that they only removed the tents as an act of good faith to help the RCMP broker a deal with Indian Affairs. It appears that Nault would prefer to use arrests and the power of the RCMP to deal with the people from Barriere Lake.Without a deal in place, the Algonquins will be returning to set up their tent compound.

The Algonquins, made up of mostly Elders and young children, expect to be returning to Parliament Hill by 10:30 Friday morning.


FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT
Grand Chief Carol McBride        Cell: (819) 629-7884
Russell Diabo             Cell: (613) 799-8160

 


September 2001
===========================

 

Raiders Charged Boats, Threw Beer Bottles;
RCMP Stood By



Dateline: Thursday, September 20, 2001
by Parker Barss Donham


On Sunday September 15, RCMP and federal fisheries officers stood helplessly by as 55 white fishing boats raided the tiny lobster zone allocated to the Esgenoopetitj First Nation (EFN) at Burnt Church, N.B. That no one was killed or seriously injured in the raid is more the result of good luck than good policing. The white fishermen cut lobster buoys, charged at high speed toward the much smaller native fishing boats, and threw buoys and beer bottles at EFN fishermen who took to the water to defend their gear. Later, the two sides apparently traded rifle fire, and a white boat that went aground in the melee was torched. The two sides apparently traded rifle fire, and a white boat that went aground in the melee was torched.

This wasn't some momentary blip. It marked the third, and by far the largest, raid white fishermen have staged on the native fishing zone during the last month. On August 26, between 19 (RCMP estimate) and 22 (Christian Peacemaker Team estimate) white vessels charged into the zone. Reports differ as to whether they did any damage. On September 2, between nine and 12 white fishing boats carried out a similar provocation. All these events were video-taped by members of the Christian Peacemaker Team, a faith based group of Americans and Canadians, the Peacemakers Teams try to defuse violent situations by witnessing and videotaping them. It should be no source of pride to Canadians that the group currently has teams on Israel's West Bank, in Chiapas, Mexico, in Colombia, and in Burnt Church, N.B.

RCMP boats withdrew and watched as the intruders lifted buoys with gaffs and cut their lines.

DFO and lawyers for native groups disagree about whether certain native fishing practices are legal. Federal lawyers have done their best to stall the Indian Brook Band's attempts to get a Federal Court of Canada ruling on the legality of DFO enforcement against native fishermen. But the disagreement does not extend to the zone around Burnt Church, for which DFO has issued EFN a communal license. Even Fisheries Minister Herb Dhaliwal, hardly a fan of the Esgenoopetitj First Nation, used words like "illegal," "completely indefensible," "grossly irresponsible," "reckless," "destructive," and "counter-productive," to describe the white fishermen's actions. So how could it happen, more than two years after the Supreme Court Marshall affirmed the Mi'kmaq's treaty right to a limited commercial fishery, that DFO and the RCMP find themselves hopelessly ill-prepared for such a confrontation?

RCMP Sgt. Francois Bidal said the force had received information that a large number of white herring fishermen, upset because DFO refused to increase their herring quota, planned a peaceful demonstration just outside the EFN zone. The RCMP launched the nine small craft it had immediately available - Boston Whalers, Zodiacs, and one 42-foot converted fishing boat. DFO added a small number of patrol boats. Two helicopters and a fixed wing Coast Guard aircraft took pictures overhead. Bidal said the RCMP vessels lined up at the entrance to the zone, but from "the speed and demeanour of the approaching vessels, it was obvious they weren't going to stop." An officer who used a marine radio to ask the fishermen to turn back was met with obscenities and threats. So the RCMP boats withdrew and watched as the intruders lifted buoys with gaffs and cut their lines.

This display of police impotence contrasts sharply with the massive force directed at native fishermen from Burnt Church and Indian Brook who have been unable to negotiate fishing agreements with Ottawa. Natives remain a minuscule part of the east coat fishery, but attract the lion's share of federal enforcement, even in the face of such brazen provocations as last weekend's raid by white herring fishermen annoyed at DFO over a fishery in which natives don't even participate. DFO has encouraged such situations by exaggerating the regulatory power granted it by the Marshall decision. Uncritical Media acceptance of DFO's dubious legal claims have encouraged the belief that dissident bands are acting illegally, when this is far from clear. Ottawa's refusal to face the real consequences of the Marshall decision has encouraged white fishermen to believe they are immune from enforcement. Sunday's police failure will further this belief.

The week's events caused the Rt. Rev. Dr. Marion Pardy, moderator of the United Church, to write Prime Minister Jean Chretien, pleading with him "to continue and expedite good-faith negotiations with the Esgenoopetitj and other Mi'kmaq communities, to resolve the treaty fisheries issue in accordance with the direction of the Supreme Court in Marshall." "We also call on the federal government to ensure that the safety of the public, and particularly that of the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in surrounding communities who report being subjected to gunfire," Pardy wrote. If that had been done two years ago, the dispute would be over now. Continued equivocation by Ottawa risks lives and the rule of law.

Parker Bars Donham is a columnist with the Halifax Daily News. He lives in Kempt Head, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.


 


Night raid damages fishery of N.B. Indians



Sept. 18, 2001
b y Chris Morris
The Associated Press, Bangor Daily News
http://www.bangornews.com/cgi-bin/article.cfm?storynumber=41320


BURNT CHURCH, New Brunswick � Micmac fishermen headed out onto Miramichi Bay on Monday morning to assess damage to their traps after a nighttime raid by non-Indian fishermen from communities surrounding the Burnt Church reserve.

No one was hurt in the melee on the water Sunday evening in which shots were fired as angry non-Indian fishermen in at least 50 boats stormed into the Micmac lobster fishing zone to protest the closure of the herring fishery.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Inspector Kevin Vickers said police are reviewing videotape of the confrontation, but he added it will be days and possibly weeks before all the evidence is gathered and charges can be considered.

Vickers said one commercial fishing boat burned after it ran aground in shallow waters near the reservation. He said police warned Indian people the protest was on its way.

"We attempted to intercept the non-native fishermen," Vickers said, adding that the Mounted Police emergency response team had 10 boats on the water.

"We asked that the fishermen stop their boats and return to Baie Ste. Anne. We were aggressively ignored."

Leo Bartibogue, a tribal councilor at Burnt Church, said the Mounted Police did warn the community that trouble was coming.

"They couldn�t stop them," he said of the Mounted Police.

Indians talked about the non-Indian fishermen declaring a war and the tough talk continued on Monday.

"I just hope they come back again and try this," said Bartibogue. "This time they don�t know what�s going to happen. We�re not backing away."

Mike Belliveau of the Maritime Fishermen�s Union, which represents commercial non-Indian fishermen in the Miramichi Bay area, said the organization does not condone violence and had no knowledge of the most recent confrontation.

"We�ve taken the position that there should be no aggressive actions on the water," Belliveau said.

"This may be an isolated, marginal incident. We hope it doesn�t get blown out of proportion."

Belliveau said non-Indian fishermen are frustrated over the closure of the herring fishery on Friday.

He said fishermen from the New Brunswick communities of Baie Ste. Anne and Escuminac have long felt they didn�t have an adequate share of the herring quota in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence.

"They believe the fishery has to be managed more flexibly," he said.

The meeting of Indian and non-Indian boats on Miramichi Bay led to high-speed chases in the area lasting about 30 minutes.

"There was a lot of gunfire," said James Ward, a Micmac warrior at Burnt Church. "We got on a boat with the chief because we heard there were shots being fired.

"As soon as we got out ... we were fired upon � more than five times. It just narrowly missed one of our guys."

Ward said some traps were pulled and cut.

Vickers said shots had been fired on the water, but also said shots had come from the reservation.

An RCMP helicopter videotaped the actions of non-Indian fishermen throughout the confrontation, Vickers said.

Federal fisheries boats were also monitoring the situation.

Since late August, federal fisheries officials have hauled more than 160 Indian lobster traps out of an area of the bay Ottawa considers outside the legal fishing zone for the reservation.

The federal government has issued a food fishery license for Burnt Church, allowing for an unlimited amount of traps to be set within a narrowly defined zone close to the reserve shoreline.

However, Micmac fishermen have said they don�t recognize the federal license or the permitted zone, although the vast majority of the roughly 1,000 lobster traps set so far are within the allowable area.

The reservation of about 1,400 people has refused to sign a fisheries agreement with Ottawa and is demanding the treaty right to fish under its own management plan.

The reservation�s defiance has caused confrontations in the last two years, both with non-Indian commercial fishermen and with fisheries officers.




ESGENOOPETITJ: Sunday Morning, Sunday Afternoon


CPTnet
September 19, 2001
by Natasha J. Krahn


My first thought was, "They're going to run over us." The 16-foot long motorboat I was in was temporarily stopped; a line from one of the lobster traps had gotten tangled in our propellor. Suddenly, a 45-foot long, non-Native commercial fishing boat came racing towards us.

Ever since the Supreme Court of Canada affirmed the Mi'kmaq's Aboriginal treaty right to hunt, fish and gather to sustain a moderate livelihood, the members of Esgenoopetitj First Nation (EFN) have attempted to fish lobster in Miramichi Bay, the front yard of their reserve. And the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and non-Native fishers in the area have attempted to stop them.

On Sunday, September 16, a Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officer drove onto the reserve and talked with a community member. He informed the community that fifty non-Native fishing boats from the surrounding area were coming in to the bay to have a "peaceful protest." During a similar "peaceful protest" in October 1999 EFN fishers lost over 3000 lobster traps.

When one community member went out on his motorboat, I went with him, bringing a video camera. When we reached the place where the non-Native boats were, I could only see about twenty of them. The non-Natives were yelling and their boats were circling our motorboat, creating huge swells. Our motorboat bounced up and down as I held onto the seat with one hand and the camera with the other.

Non-Native fishermen threw beer bottles, rocks, and buoys they had cut from lobster traps at us and the six other EFN dories in the vicinity. One community member jumped into the water when he saw a non-Native fishing boat racing towards him.

That's when we stopped, caught by the line tangled in our propellor. The non-Native boat swerved at the last second and instead of running over us, went speeding past. This maneuver happened twice. The third time our propellor was finally free and we sped back towards the shore.

The entire time an RCMP helicopter was flying overhead, but that didn't stop the "peaceful protesters."

Back on the shore, CPTers counted around fifty-four non-Native fishing boats as well as six RCMP boats. The RCMP boats remained on the sidelines and showed no attempt to stop the non-Native fishers. As we stood watching the scene on the bay, shots were fired out on the water. One of the men standing at the shore yelled, "Kids, get behind the house! Now!" and all the children raced behind the house while their parents stood on shore, potentially in the line of fire.

The official story from the DFO is that the non-Natives were protesting the closing of the herring fishery. But why did they cut Native lobster traps and attempt to swamp Native boats in the bay?

On two previous Sundays this fall, non-Native fishing boats have entered the bay to "demonstrate." One time, twenty boats entered the bay, the other time it was ten. One question I have heard over and over again from members of this community is "How can people go to church on Sunday morning and then commit these kinds of acts on Sunday afternoons?" As a Christian, I don't have an answer.


Christian Peacemaker Teams is an initiative among Mennonite and Church of the Brethren congregations and Friends Meetings that supports violence reduction efforts around the world. Contact CPT, POB 6508 Chicago, IL 60680, TEL. 312-455-1199 FAX 312-432-1213 / To receive news or discussion of CPT issues by e-mail, fill out the form found on our WEB page at http://www.prairienet.org/cpt/

 

 

Natives in Burnt Church setting fewer traps



WebPosted Tue Sep 18 19:10:24 2001
http://www.cbc.ca/cgi-bin/templates/print.cgi?/news/2001/09/18/burnt010918


BURNT CHURCH, N.B.-- Native fishermen in Burnt Church, New Brunswick, are setting their lobster traps again.

The number of traps available to them was reduced when hundreds were cut free in a clash between native and non-native boats on Sunday night.

The RCMP say the investigation into the incident will take a long time.

Police say they need to interview everyone who may have been on the boats and on the shoreline at the time.

Copyright � 2000 Canadian Broadcasting Corporation - All Rights Reserved

 

 

Non-native fishermen in NB call for immediate end to Burnt Church fishery



By Chris Morris,
Associated Press
9/17/2001 20:04
http://www.boston.com/dailynews/260/region/Non_native_fishermen_in_NB_cal:.shtml


BURNT CHURCH, New Brunswick (AP) Commercial fishermen in northeastern New Brunswick want the federal government to end the Micmac lobster fishery on Miramichi Bay in the name of social peace.

Non-native fishermen and spokesmen for the Maritime Fishermens Union, which represents commercial fishermen in the region, said Monday the native lobster fishery at the Burnt Church reserve is creating an explosive situation that could end in tragedy.

At least 30 gunshots were fired Sunday night when non-native fishermen in about 50 boats and native fishermen in 10 boats chased and dodged each other on the bay near the Micmac reserve.

"We're calling on the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to close the fall food fishery at Burnt Church," said Sandy Seigel, a spokesman for the fishermen's union.

"We're making this request because of what happened on Sunday night. We're asking, in the name of social peace and good government, that the fishery be closed before more problems arise."

DFO spokesman Rheal Boucher said the federal department would look at the request. "But when granting a license the intent is that it continues until the end," he said.

The reserve's license is good until Oct. 20.

No one was hurt in the confrontation and no charges were laid. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said it would take several days to review videotapes of the encounter.

One non-native fishing boat ran aground during the melee and later burned to the waterline. The two men on the boat were taken by natives to nearby police cruisers.

An RCMP spokesman said the two men were intoxicated. They spent the night in jail and were released Monday morning.

The Burnt Church reserve has consistently refused to sign a fishing agreement with Ottawa, insisting its people have a treaty right to fish under their own rules and regulations.

The federal government has issued a food fishery license for Burnt Church this year, allowing for an unlimited amount of traps to be set within a narrowly defined zone close to the reserve shoreline.

But commercial fishermen living in the surrounding communities of Baie-Ste-Anne and Escuminac believe Ottawa has capitulated to unreasonable n ative demands, and they insist the situation cannot continue.

At the Escuminac wharf on Monday, most fishermen angrily refused to talk o news reporters, complaining that their side of the story isn't being told.

Charles Lirette, a fisherman willing to talk, said the confrontation on the water was caused by a buildup of tensions and frustrations ignited by the recent closure of the herring fishery due to quota restrictions.

He said fishermen feel they have to sit by idly while natives can, with the blessing of Ottawa, take their fill of the most lucrative catch, lobster.

Non-native fishermen can only catch lobster during the federally authorized spring season.

"You can't have two seasons in one fishing zone," Lirette said.

"We want the natives to fish, but it has to be under the same regulations and conditions as the rest of us."

Lirette said fishermen are worried the Burnt Church traps estimated at about 1,000 are taking too many lobster.

He said the commercial catch this year was down by 15 to 20 percent in the bay and fishermen are worried their livelihoods are slipping away.

"We can live without herring but we can't live without lobster," said a fisherman sitting with Lirette who wouldn't give his name.

Chief Wilbur Dedam of Burnt Church said the band lost several hundred traps during the encounter, although he didn't have an exact number.

He said the situation was "scary" for people on the reserve.

"The children are worried about a war because of what happened in New York and Washington last week and now they're worried as well about war here because of what happened on Sunday," Dedam said.

"It's all because of greed and the inability of some to share the resource."




Burnt Church dispute heats up


Sonya Varma reports for Canada Now

Burnt Church, N.B. - 'They come here on Sunday after mass, after they finished praying, they come and do this' Twenty fishing boats from the Big Cove reserve sailed into Miramichi Bay late Monday to support fishermen from the Burnt Church band.

It's in response to a raid Sunday night into waters of the native fishing zone. Up to 200 commercial non-native fishermen aboard 55 boats cut and damaged lobster traps.

RCMP Inspector Kevin Vickers says smaller native boats took to the water to confront the raiders.

"The situation out there with high speeds and large vessels," he says, "is exceptionally dangerous situation in which very easily there could be loss of life." Vickers also confirms up to 30 shots were fired during the incident. He says they came from the reserve on shore.

Band councillor Leo Bartibogue says he's disgusted by the non-native action.

"I was standing by my boat and there was fire," he says. "You could see bullets flying from the water where they hit. We saw them throwing bottles at us, they were all intoxicated. "They come here on Sunday after mass, after they finished praying, they come and do this."

Leo Bartibogue
Burnt Church
Councillor

Bartibogue says the commercial fishermen were armed with guns and liquor.

Two non-natives were arrested Sunday night. The RCMP is presently reviewing videotapes made during the confrontation. They say more charges could be laid.




Marshall decision stirring mixed emotions

Bathurst, N.B. - 'It seems to me Marshall was like a little lottery that we won' Some natives in Burnt Church are asking what went wrong since the Marshall Decision. Some thought the Supreme Court ruling two years ago would settle arguments over treaty rights, but they still find themselves at odds with the government over their right to fish lobster.

Leo Bartibogue, a band councillor at Burnt Church, says he thought the Marshall decision would make things easier for people on the reserve.

But instead Bartibogue says the past two summers have been filled with violence, conflict and confusion. Now, he says he's not sure what to think of the supreme court decision.

"You know it seems like to me Marshall was like a little lottery that we won," he says. "But when I look at it today, it's also something sad."

Ken Coates, the author of a book on the Marshall decision, says those kinds of mixed feelings are to be expected. Coates says it could take years before all the details of the decision are sorted out.

"We have to realize that the Marshall decision is really step one and a whole bunch of steps have to follow down the line," he says. "It will be a difficult process. It will be a controversial process. It won't be easy.

That's not much comfort to Bartibogue. He's not interested in going over the details of the decision with the government. He says to people at Burnt Church, the message of Marshall was clear. It gave them the right to fish.




RCMP planning charges after latest native, non-native fishing dispute



WebPosted Mon Sep 17 18:13:06 2001

BURNT CHURCH, N.B. - RCMP near the Burnt Church reserve in New Brunswick are reviewing videotapes of Sunday evening's clash between native and non-native fishermen.

INDEPTH: Fishing Fury

Fifty non-native fishing boats from nearby Baie-St-Anne and Neguac approached the reserve just before 6 p.m. Sunday night. RCMP say they tried to stop the boats but failed.

Once there, the fishermen allegedly cut and damaged several native fishing traps.

Natives sent out their own boats, and a violent confrontation ensued.

Many boats were nearly tipped over and about 30 gunshots were fired, but no one was hurt.

RCMP Inspector Kevin Vickers says police are now trying to figure out what charges to lay.

Vickers says charges could be laid against both non-natives and natives.

 


Picked up from: www.turtleisland.org


SHOTS FIRED ON WATERS NEAR BURNT CHURCH AS NATIVE, NON-NATIVES CLASH


BURNT CHURCH, N.B. (CP) - Shots were fired across the waters of Miramichi Bay on Sunday night, where natives and non-natives have clashed in a dispute over a fall lobster fishery. RCMP confirmed there was a confrontation on the water when about 40 to 50 non-native fishermen from surrounding communities headed out on the water to protest the closure of the herring fishery.

They were met by several natives in about 10 boats from Burnt Church. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

The meeting of the two groups of boats led to high-speed chases in the area lasting about 30 minutes, said RCMP Insp. Kevin Vickers.

"There's a war going on here right now," said native fishermen Leo Bartibogue from one of the boats.

"Non-natives are over there cutting our traps and the RCMP aren't doing anything. It's just total chaos here."

He said shots had been fired on members of the Burnt Church reserve by the non-native fishermen.

"There was a lot of gunfire," said James Ward, a Mi'kmaq warrior at Burnt Church. "We got on a boat with the chief because we heard there were shots being fired.

"As soon as we got out . . . we were fired upon - more than five times. It just narrowly missed one of our guys."

Ward said the fishermen will do a damage assessment of their traps Monday but he said some are known to have been pulled and cut.

Vickers said shots had been fired on the water, but also said shots had come from the reserve. He said the non-natives were from Baie-Ste-Anne and Neguac. Bartibogue said more people from Burnt Church were patrolling their waters late Sunday, about two hours after the confrontation started.

A federal Fisheries Department spokesman who asked not to be identified also said the confrontation was winding down late Sunday.

"It has quieted down partly because of how dark it is, and some of the boats that went into the (native lobster-fishing) zone have been seen leaving and going back to their ports."

The official suggested that non-native fishermen had provoked a confrontation to bring attention to their separate concerns over Ottawa's recent closure of the herring fishery.

An RCMP helicopter videotaped the actions of non-native fishermen throughout the confrontation and sent a number of emergency response team members out into the water, Vickers said.

Federal fisheries boats were also monitoring the situation. Officers were reviewing the videotapes late Sunday night to determine what charges will be laid, he said. Police were also maintaining a presence on the Burnt Church community wharf.

"We'll conduct very thorough investigations," he said. "Last year in all investigations involving gunshots we were successful in identifying the people responsible and charges were brought." No commercial non-native fishermen could be reached late Sunday for comment. Vickers said officers asked non-native fishermen not to travel to Burnt Church before the confrontation started.

"Today, they asked the white fishers not to come to inflame the situation," he said. "We knew the white fishers were intending to come to protest the closure of the herring fishery and the ongoing native lobster fishery."

He said the RCMP will continue to encourage both sides to return to the table and discuss issues of concern.

Since late August, federal fisheries officials have hauled more than 160 native lobster traps out of an area of the bay Ottawa considers outside the legal fishing zone for the reserve.

The federal government has issued a food fishery licence for Burnt Church, allowing for an unlimited amount of traps to be set within a narrowly defined zone close to the reserve shoreline.

However, Mi'kmaq fishermen have said they don't recognize the federal licence or the permitted zone, although the vast majority of the roughly 1,000 lobster traps set so far are within the allowable area.

Two weeks ago, Mi'kmaq warriors and fisheries rangers from the reserve vowed to protect native fishermen as they trap lobsters outside the imposed zone.

The reserve of about 1,400 people has refused to sign a fisheries agreement with Ottawa and is demanding the treaty right to fish under its own management plan. The reserve's defiance has caused confrontations in the last two years, both with non-native commercial fishermen and with fisheries officers.


� The Canadian Press, 2001

 

 

Shots fired on waters near Burnt Church in fishery clash



By Associated Press
9/16/2001 20:33
http://www.boston.com/dailynews/259/region/Shots_fired_on_waters_near_Bur:.shtml


BURNT CHURCH, N.B. (AP) Shots were fired across the waters of Miramichi Bay on Sunday night, where native and non-natives have clashed in a dispute over a fall lobster fishery.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police confirmed there was a confrontation on the water when about 40 to 50 non-native fishermen from surrounding communities headed out on the water to protest the closure of the herring fishery.

They were met by several tribal members in about 10 boats from Burnt Church. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

The meeting of the two groups of boats led to high-speed chases in the area lasting about 30 minutes, said RCMP Inspector Kevin Vickers.

"There's a war going on here right now," said tribal fishermen Leo Bartibogue from one of the boats.

"Non-natives are over there cutting our traps and the RCMP aren't doing anything. It's just total chaos here."

He said shots had been fired on members of the Burnt Church reserve by the non-native fishermen.

"There was a lot of gunfire," said James Ward, a Micmac warrior at Burnt Church. "We got on a boat with the chief because we heard there were shots being fired.

"As soon as we got out ... we were fired upon more than five times. It just narrowly missed one of our guys."

Ward said the fishermen will do a damage assessment of their traps Monday but he said some are known to have been pulled and cut.

Vickers said shots had been fired on the water, but also said shots had come from the reserve. He said the non-natives were from Baie-Ste-Anne and Neguac.

Bartibogue said more people from Burnt Church were patrolling their waters late Sunday, about two hours after the confrontation started.

A federal Fisheries Department spokesman who asked not to be identified also said the confrontation was winding down late Sunday.

"It has quieted down partly because of how dark it is, and some of the boats that went into the (native lobster-fishing) zone have been seen leaving and going back to their ports."

The official suggested that non-native fishermen had provoked a confrontation to bring attention to their separate concerns over Ottawa's recent closure of the herring fishery.

An RCMP helicopter videotaped the actions of non-native fishermen throughout the confrontation and sent a number of emergency response team members out into the water, Vickers said.

Federal fisheries boats were also monitoring the situation, he said.

Since late August, federal fisheries officials have hauled more than 160 native lobster traps out of an area of the bay Ottawa considers outside the legal fishing zone for the reserve.

The federal government has issued a food fishery license for Burnt Church, allowing for an unlimited amount of traps to be set within a narrowly defined zone close to the reserve shoreline.

However, Micmac fishermen have said they don't recognize the federal license or the permitted zone, although the vast majority of the roughly 1,000 lobster traps set so far are within the allowable area.

Two weeks ago, Micmac warriors and fisheries rangers from the reserve vowed to protect native fishermen as they trap lobsters outside the imposed zone.

The reserve of about 1,400 people has refused to sign a fisheries agreement with Ottawa and is demanding the treaty right to fish under its own management plan.

The reserve's defiance has caused confrontations in the last two years, both with non-native commercial fishermen and with fisheries officers.

 

 

September 16th

Burnt Church Fishermen Under Attack

On Sunday, September 16, 2001 at 6:25p.m. 56 non-native boats entered Esgenoopetitj fishing waters under the guise of peaceful protest. 7 Esgenoopetitj dories quickly went out to protect their gear. No sooner did they get out to the bay, when the non-native boats started throwing objects at our fishermen, knocking one of our Mi'kmaq fishers overboard. He was quickly retrieved by one of our rangers. The Mi'kmaq fishermen quickly got together to re-organize themselves. When they went back to make sure their fishing gear was not being destroyed, they were fired upon by the non-native fishermen, with what sounded like a semi-automatic rifle. While all this was going on the DFO and RCMP just looked on and did nothing to protect the Esgenoopetitj Mi'kmaq fishermen. Thank the creator that no one was injured in the skirmish. Kwegsi [Lloyd Augustine]

 

 

First Nation fishermen under attack



September 13, 2001
JAMES WARD
Burnt Church First Nation


The large scale siege conducted by the Canadian law enforcement and paramilitary personnel and equipment around Burnt Church First Nation must be questioned if the concept of freedom is to be maintained.

Canada has surrounded the little First Nation with overwhelming forces, and the intent of denying an inherent right and freedom of the Mi'kmaq people by the use of force.

Is this deployment and concentration of enforcement justified?

The Canadian government has chosen to deny the Mi'kmaq people's ancient, inherent freedoms by force to protect the interest of large multinational corporations.

Freedoms of the natives are under attack and being systematically extinguished over a period of time to satisfy the multinational corporations.

The Canadian government spews out the rhetoric of the conservation scare and public safety.

They claim the reason for this massive deployment of forces is for the preservation of lobster stocks from the native's "illegal" fishery.

The RCMP claim the "increased" presence is for "public safety," yet they escort non-native fishermen into Burnt Church waters under the false pretense of a peaceful protest.

The result is our traps get destroyed and our means of living is ripped from us before our very eyes, as the RCMP looks on and tells us they cannot respond because of "safety" reasons.

This so-called peaceful protest tactic has been used for three years, and the RCMP have been a part of it each time.

Is the Canadian government really mobilizing these forces for the noble cause of conservation?

The Atlantic fishery is allowed two million lobster traps for it's fishery, however Department of Fisheries and Oceans states there are another 50 per cent more "illegal" lobster traps.

Those non-native poachers conducting an "illegal" fishery are a threat to the lobster stocks by a far more astronomical measure than all native fisheries combined, but are they targeted for excessive force?

Non-native poachers are without a doubt the greatest threat to the Atlantic fishery, but when has the DFO raided the non-native fishery and grabbed thousands of non-native traps?

When has the DFO run over non-native poachers with their patrol boats?

Where is the massive deployment of DFO, RCMP, coast guard and emergency response teams to eliminate this environmental atrocity?

Where are the highly organized joint operations conducted to shut down the "illegal" fishery?

These actions will never be taken because the non-native poachers are not native.

The poachers are also voters and the government will protect and promote their economic interests even if it means the end of ancient freedoms for the Mi'kmaq and the survival of the lobster stocks itself.

 


August 2001
===========================

 

'White mobs' beat my people: Coon Come



Corinna Schuler
National Post
nationalpost.com/search/story.html?f=/stories/20010831/677085.html&qs=aboriginal


DURBAN - Matthew Coon Come, the national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, told a world conference against racism yesterday that an uncaring government and "white mobs" have robbed his people of their livelihood and forced them on to marginal reserves.

An international audience of almost 1,000 activists was gathered under the largest conference tent in Durban's cricket field when an emotional Mr. Coon Come complained that Canada's indigenous peoples endure everything from substandard housing to state violence. He shocked many in the crowd with his version of the fishing dispute that unfolded last year at Burnt Church, N.B.

"When our people tried to obtain a moderate livelihood from the sea, white mobs burned our boats and beat our people," said Mr. Coon Come, leader of the Assembly of First Nations.

"The Canadian government intervened only to ram our boats at sea," Mr. Coon Come said.

Violence erupted in Burnt Church last year after native traps were set illegally and fisheries officers began pulling them out.

A fisheries officer had his cheekbone crushed by a flying rock in August and several days later natives accused officers of sinking two boats and ramming a skiff. There were several clashes between officers and natives.

In September, fisheries officers said they were forced to abandon a pre-dawn raid on native lobster traps after two gunshots were fired from the Burnt Church reserve.

"Right across Canada," Mr. Coon Come said yesterday, "we have been assigned to tiny, marginal areas of land called Indian reserves -- less than a few per cent of our traditional lands. The Canadian state has retained for itself the resource rights, even under our feet."

One black South African student seated in the crowd gasped at the description. "Oh my goodness," she exclaimed. "Is it true? That happens in Canada?"

When Mr. Coon Come left Ottawa this week vowing to expose Canada's "racist" treatment of native peoples, he could not have imagined such a large, sympathetic crowd would turn out in Durban to cheer him.

The non-governmental conference on racism is a prelude to the official United Nations racism conference that begins today, and many of the disparate NGO forums have attracted a handful of people.

But Mr. Coon Come was paired on a panel with Angela Davis, the African-American activist who was once imprisoned on charges of murder and kidnapping. Hundreds rushed to snap pictures and get autographs from Ms. Davis, and the crowd grew larger when word got around that Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, the controversial former wife of Nelson Mandela, had made a surprise appearance on the panel.

She greeted Mr. Coon Come with a bear hug, and his speech was delayed for several minutes as the audience cheered for Ms. Madikizela-Mandela.

Activists hollered their approval when Ms. Davis called for the abolition of prisons and they cheered as another panelist proclaimed the American stars and stripes "the most hated flag in the world."

Mr. Coon Come was applauded repeatedly during his 20-minute speech and Ms. Madikizela-Mandela nodded while he compared the plight of his Cree people to that of black South Africans under apartheid.

"We also recognized the racist and colonial syndrome of dispossession and discrimination that was taking place in South Africa from our own experience. My own people, the James Bay Crees, have been virtually completely dispossessed of our lands and resources," he said.

"We have been deprived of our means of subsistence and our lands, and are being denied our right to benefit fully from our natural wealth and resources."

Mr. Coon Come said the feelings of hopelessness and despair among aboriginal youth have led to shocking rates of suicide and prison incarceration. He noted that Canada's reserves are often overcrowded and lacking in adequate sanitation or clean drinking water -- and he appeared to lay full blame on the government.

"I realize this may be surprising news for some of you. Canadians, and the government of Canada, present themselves around the world as upholders and protectors of human rights."

He acknowledged that, "in many ways" the reputation is well deserved, as Canada was a key opponent of apartheid and provides development assistance around the world.

"However, at home in Canada, the oppression, marginalization and dispossession of indigenous people continue."

He said the situation facing natives in Canada "has correctly been referred to as 'Canada's hidden shame.' "

In an interview later, Mr. Coon Come insisted much of the $7-billion Ottawa spends on social programs for aboriginals each year is wasted on government bureaucracy and never trickles down to the people on reserves.

"If we could revenue-share from the natural resources attached to our lands, we wouldn't have to rely on government handouts. I hate government handouts. I feel like a beggar in my own country, always asking the federal government for money."

COON COME SAYS:

- "We also recognized the racist and colonial syndrome of dispossession and discrimination that was taking place in South Africa from our own experience."

- "At home in Canada, the oppression, marginalization and dispossession of indigenous people continue."

- "We have been deprived of our means of subsistence and our lands, and are being denied our right to benefit fully from our natural wealth and resources."

 

 

 

Support the People of Esgeno�petitj First Nation (Burnt Church)

The situation remains VERY tense at Esgeno�petitj (Burnt Church). The People are being attacked, pressured and besieged from all sides: ongoing court cases from last year, federal government (DIAND) take-over of their Band finances, all the equipment and bigger boats they used in previous years being held hostage by DFO or destroyed by non-Native fishermen, military-style naval and air surveillance actions 24-hours daily, a massive mainstream media dis-information campaign to manipulate the public opinion of their story, and much more.

Resources and spirits are so stretched that getting the REAL People's story out to supporters like you is very tough. TISG will have a full report next week when Don Heap (AKA as Dan Heap, former NDP MP) and Robin Buyers (AKA an Ipperwash Inquiry activist and spokesperson) return from their 2-week solidarity visits there. Heap and Buyers have been at Esgeno�petitj as invited visitors, serving in the non-Native "violence-reduction observer" team coordinated by the Christian Peacemakers.

In the meantime, try http://www.turtleisland.org/ (click on the news button and surf around) for the Aboriginal 'take' on the news -- AND please engage in this fax/email campaign, which has been launched by Christian Peacemaker Teams Esgeno�petitj Team - Phone (506)779-6886 - Email: cptcan@sympatico.ca

DO LOBSTERS HAVE EARS?

Who knows? But Canadians have ears. As Esgeno�petitj First Nation prepares for the fall lobster-fishing season, many wonder whether the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and Canadian government are preparing to use the same �gunboat diplomacy� tactics as they used last year or if they�ll take this chance to use their ears and listen to First Nations people. In accordance with their treaty rights, the First Nations fishers will be dropping lobster traps into the waters of Miramichi Bay under the authority of the Esgeno�petitj Conservation Management plan. Meanwhile, DFO officers and federal officials will have the opportunity to renounce their violence and misbehaviour of the past in favour of respectfully dialoguing with First Nations people on a nation-to-nation basis.

THE ROLE OF CANADIAN CITIZENS

As a department of the federal government, the DFO represents all Canadians and, therefore, DFO officers act on our behalf as they relate to First Nations peoples (in the same way that they act on our behalf as they relate to other Canadians). If the DFO has acted in a way that goes against what Canadians want, then the role of Canadian citizens is to say, in effect, �Stop doing that! We want you to do this differently.� Unless Canadians speak up, the government interprets silence as support. In other words, through the federal governmental system, Canadians have a responsibility both to hold the DFO accountable for their objectionable behaviour of the past and to specify which positive and constructive behaviours DFO must display in the future.

WHAT CAN I DO?

Join the fax and email blitz! Send a message to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) asking them to respect the fall lobster-fishing season.

1. Encourage them to open their ears to listen to First Nations peoples.

2. Request that they widen their perspective to include the possibility that the conservation management plans of First Nations peoples might be

more conservation-minded and sustainable than current DFO plans. 3. Tell them that they do not need to passively accept orders from Herb Dhaliwal and Jean Chr�tien, but that they have the right and the obligation to initiate discussions within the federal system about the fact that Canadians need to build new relations with First Nations peoples.

WHERE DO I SEND MY MESSAGE?

    Send your message to the following DFO addresses, and send another copy to Esgeno�petitj First Nation so that they know there are Canadians out there who want their federal representatives to use creative and respectful methods rather than violence.
  • Hon. Herb Dhaliwal, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans
    House of Commons, Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
    Phone: 613-9957052 Fax: 613-995-2962 Email: dhalih@parl.gc.ca
  • Raoul Breault, DFO Area Chief (East New Brunswick)
    Phone: 506-395-7711 Fax: 506-395-3809 Email: BreaultR@dfo-mpo.gc.ca
  • Rheal Boucher, DFO Regional Director (East New Brunswick)
    Phone: 506-395-7702 Fax: 506-395-7739 Email: BoucherR@dfo-mpo.gc.ca
  • Jim MacKenzie, DFO Federal Chief Negotiator
    Phone: 613-993-8598 Fax: 613-993-3435 Email: MacKenzieJ@dfo_mpo.gc.ca

LET THE PEOPLE OF ESGENOOPETITJ KNOW THEY ARE NOT ALONE. Please send a copy of your letter to:
miigam�agan and gkisedtanamoogk, Esgeno�petitj First Nation
PO Box 2051, Burnt Church NB E9G 4J9
Fax: 506-776-5137 Email: miigkis@nbnet.nb.ca

 


Non-violent observers prepare for Burnt Church

 

Dear Editor: Well, it's mid-August again. Time for Canadians to take the last of their summer holidays, harvest their gardens, play at the beach.

Regretfully, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and the RCMP say it is time to gather their personnel, boats and weapons around the aboriginal community of Burnt Church (Esgenooptitj), New Brunswick.

And regretfully again, it is time for the Aboriginal Rights Coalition - Atlantic (ARC-A) Observer Project to make a schedule for its slate of trained, non-violent observers to be present in Esgenooptitj during the fall fishing season, with the hope that our presence there will help to prevent violence and open up a space within which peaceful fishery negotiations can occur.

It is nearly two years since the Supreme Court of Canada decreed, under the Marshall Decision, that First Nations people of Atlantic Canada have the right to earn a moderate livelihood from the fishery.

So far, since that first frighteningly violent local outburst in response to the September 1999 court decision, we have seen three more seasons of our DFO and RCMP authorities arming themselves against First Nations fishers. And the government of Canada continues to neglect to change federal fishery legislation in response to the Supreme Court decision.

This threat of violence isn't the fault of those DFO and RCMP officers whom we have seen on newsclips ramming boats and pointing guns. They are enforcing our pre-1999 federal fishery laws to stop First Nations people from fishing.

And it isn't the First Nations peoples' fault. They are fishing according to the newer 1999 Supreme Court decision, which states that they have the legal right to catch and sell fish. When asked, regional DFO officials tell us that they don't have the authority to change the laws in response to the court decision - it is up to the federal government to change them. And our government is now nearly two years behind on this task.

As far as we can see, the Canadian Government (via DFO) has been trying to circumvent the Supreme Court decision by making short-term one-sided fishery agreements with individual First Nations.

We use the terms "circumvent" and "one-sided" because the Supreme Court decision states that new fishery agreements must be accepted jointly by the First Nations and the Canadian Government, not merely fashioned and offered by the Canadian government in a "take-it-or-I'll-force-you-to" style, which seems to be the current situation.

Bob Allain, of DFO, has publicly stated that he has no substantial problem with the fisheries management plan under which the First Nations people of Esgenoopetitj have been fishing.

The Esgenoopetitj fishery plan is based on conservation methods in line with DFO practices. The Supreme Court Marshall Decision clearly states that the Canadian Government can intervene with First Nations fishing only if there is a public concern such as conservation. And the mode of intervention is supposed to be further joint negotiation. So, there is a clear, prescribed alternative to our government's response of forceful interventions.

We figure that the Canadian government is in denial regarding the First Nations' legal right to manage their own fishery. It is either that, or our elected and government officials do not have the creativity to see that there are different options other than having DFO set and manage all the rules.

In other parts of the Maritimes and the world, some form of community-based management of the fisheries has been much more effective. Maybe it is time for DFO to acknowledge that they can't manage the fisheries well and to let others participate in a meaningful way.

In the spirit of preventing violence by simply being present and observing, ARC-A Observers have been invited by the First Nations community of Burnt Church (Esgenoopetitj) to be present during their fishing seasons since April 2000.

In that time, we have seen no First Nations fishers carrying guns (although the DFO and RCMP authorities certainly are well-armed). We have seen this First Nation attempt a very modest lobster fishery amidst the huge and lucrative non-aboriginal commercial fishery.

The ARC-A Observer Project is sponsored by mainline Canadian churches and other individuals. Our volunteers have been trained in the same way that Canadians have been trained in the past to observe potentially unjust political situations in countries like Guatemala. We travel in pairs, carrying only pens, paper and cameras.

We go to Burnt Church in peace and hope. We hope that there will be no violence. We hope that our Canadian Government will finally respond responsibly to the Supreme Court decision, and sit down to openly negotiate with First Nations people. We hope that our presence will no longer be needed in this First Nations community. We would rather be out holidaying, harvesting our gardens and playing at the beach. Margaret Tusz-King
member, ARC-A Observer
Project Steering Committee
Sackville, N.B.



List info at: http://nativenewsonline.org/natnews.htm
Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/


 

 


Mikmaq video

Who Will Sing for Us?
Treaty Fishing Rights Denied
Mi'kmaq people's traditions threatened.

Read the background in Wotanging Ikche (http://www.nanews.org) or on Owlstar's Daily Headlines (http://www.owlstar.com)

Hear and see their own story in the words of Grandfather Frank Thomas, Warrior Chief of the Mi'kmaq

Who Will Sing for Us?

The pictures that show, in ways no headline can, what the Canadian authorities are doing.

The original VHS video quality is broadcast quality.. If you'd like the VHS, send $10 to:

P.O. Box 305
Holbrook, MA, 02343
(781)767-2462 (US)
(902)758-1343 (Canada)

This video was created in an effort to support the Mi'kmaq Indian Treaty Rights. We believe that Indian culture should be preserved and passed on to future generations. The treaties should be honored and respected--there are no expiration dates.

Our goal is to educate others as to the oppression and prejudice that exists today towards the Mi'kmaq Nation of Nova Scotia by the Government of Canada.

TREATY RIGHTS ARE NOT BEING HONORED!

If your hearts have been touched by this video, kindly express your concerns by printing out this page and signing below, and returning to:

Amnesty International
c/o Josh Rubenstein, Director
58 Day Street
Somerville, MA 02144

Thank you for taking action on behalf of human rights.

(Name) ______________________________________________

(Address) ____________________________________________

 

 

Burnt Church Fishery Opens August 20

 

Atlantic Policy Congress Of First Nation
Chiefs Secretariat Inc. www.apcfnc.ca
Media Release: August 9, 2001

[Amherst, NS] The Burnt Church Fishery opens on August 20, 2001 and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) Canada has done nothing to work out arrangements for a peaceful fishing season for the residents at Burnt Church. The community is working towards achieving a true communal treaty fishery where all the members benefit.

The Atlantic Chiefs are very concerned about the potential violence that could take place in Burnt Church as did in previous years. Without any agreed upon arrangements with DFO, Burnt Church fishermen will be at risk of further violence.

�Dialogue is the key to finding a solution to the situation in Burnt Church, but once again, DFO refuses to acknowledge a treaty-based fishery,� said APC Co-Chair Chief Second Peter Barlow.

�I hope DFO will do the right thing here and provide the community with a fall fishery,� said APC Co-Chair Chief Lawrence Paul.

DFO has no scientific evidence to show that the Burnt Church fishery has had a negative impact in Miramichi Bay because of the fact that their fishery is practiced based on a management plan that has been accepted by the community as a whole in Burnt Church.

�The Burnt Church Fisheries Plan has strict regulations regarding conservation and the limits of catch, which the members of the community have accepted and abide by,� said Chief Paul.

The Chiefs also wish that the non-Native fishermen would be more open to the idea of a fall fishery and work with the community to further sustain the fishery for the future of all fishermen.

�It�s a matter of treaty implementation for the community at Burnt Church,� continued Chief Barlow, �getting off welfare to make a few dollars in the fall fishery is a way to help our people.�

Last year, DFO used excessive force and showed their one-sided and heavy-handed tactics in dealing with a Treaty Fishery in both Miramichi Bay and St. Mary�s Bay. This use of force was based on no data or scientific proof to justify their attacks on Mi�kmaq fishermen.

�It is hoped that DFO will provide scientific expertise that will work with Burnt Church on sustaining a treaty fishery today and in the future, but they seem to be ignoring that the fall fishery or the treaties even exist�� continued Chief Paul.

The Chiefs are in full support of Burnt Church�s fall fishery and hope that the violence seen in previous years doesn�t repeat itself this year.

Contact:
JJ Bear ? Communications Officer ? jj.bear@apcfnc.ca (902) 667-4007 work       (506) 379-0244

 

 

 

July 2001
===========================


'Sacred prayer' against pollution in Big Cove

 

July 19 2001
http://nb.cbc.ca/cgi-bin/templates/view.cgi?/news/2001/07/19/nb_svcove010719

 

REXTON, N.B. - People in and around the Big Cove Reserve are complaining about contaminated water. They say the Richibucto River's polluted, fish are dying and people are getting sick.

All week, dozens of people have been praying and sharing their stories of pollution. Willie Nolan helped organized the "sacred prayer." She has a background in environmental health and people come to her with troubling tales.

"They talked about fish being deformed, behaving unnaturally, swimming upside down. A lot of dead animals. Frogs and birds along the water. Little oil slicks, obvious signs of pollution," she says.

The pollution has kept 14-year J.P. Simon away from the water. He hasn't gone swimming in the Richibucto River for years. The last time he did, he got sick.

"My chest was all red, my arms. My face was all bumpy and my arms," he says.

Bruce Simon can remember when the river was a clear crystal brown. He used to catch foot-long trout but the fish are gone and the waters a murky green.

"And the kids, if they swim here, they get these little scabs on them. So I had to tell my kids and other kids not to swim there anymore," he says.

Farther down the river, the water's lined with black sludge.

The smell is pungent. It's slimy. It's purple. It's green. It's black. It's very, very hard on the stomach," is the way Simon describes it.

He thinks it's because of runoff from fields and sewage being flushed into the river. People in and around Big Cove have complained about the water for years. They say it's futile talking to government so now they're praying.

 

June 2001
===========================


June 28, 2001
From: Willi Nolan willi@web.net
Please Read Fwd:

Invitation to join CPT at Burnt Church



My Dear Friends,

I really hope that you can join us in August, and that you will forward this message along to other good people.

Last year's experiences were not only scary for me, but taught me the real importance of "being there". I am certain that the presence of non-violent witnesses can not only prevent bloodshed, but ensures that the truth of the situation is exposed for the world to see. It is more than fitting that CPT has begun to call its witnessing "violence-reduction" teams.

After these experiences, I can only agree that the State will probably cause an increase in physical and media attacks on the fishers of Esgenoopetitj, directly or indirectly. The people need your support...please come.

Some of you have event promotion skills - might you be able to round up some entertainment for a musical event or 2? Let us know!! I live about 1 hour from Esgenoopetitj; my space has been used for meetings, breaks from witnessing, a friendly stop along the way, and alternate communications centre. You are welcome here too (camping or a bed if you're lucky).

Hope that CPT and I will hear from you soon.

All My Relations,
Willi
705 Fishing Club Road
Bass River, New Brunswick
(North at Junction of Hwys. 490 and 116, between Hwy 126 & Hwy 11. North of Moncton, South of Miramichi)
(506) 785-4660



Doug Pritchard wrote:
To: First Nations Contact

CPTNet
June 18, 2001

TORONTO: Delegation to Esgeno�petitj (Burnt Church, New Brunswick) announced for August 19 - 28, 2001


There is an urgent need for Canadian and U.S. citizens and others to understand what Aboriginal communities are facing today. The Mi�kmaq community of Esgeno�petitj (Burnt Church, New Brunswick) is struggling for recognition of its right to a peaceful, sustainable lobster fishery. At the invitation of the community, Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) has maintained a violence-reduction team at the fishery since April 2000. You are invited to participate in a CPT delegation to Esgeno�petitj in August 2001.

Last year, Canadian fisheries officers repeatedly attacked Aboriginal fishers, seizing their traps, and ramming their boats. CPT observers on board the fishing boats documented many of these encounters and raised awareness around the world. CPT�s summary report �Gunboat Diplomacy� called attention to the Canada�s abuse of human rights at Esgeno�petitj (http://www.prairienet.org/cpt/canada.php).

The Mi�kmaq people in Esgeno�petitj fear that the government has not yet changed its course of action and that there could be more violence during the fall fishery which begins in mid-August. Delegation participants will meet various people related to the issue and may join the CPT team in its daily work.

Participants in this delegation should be prepared to:

  • learn about Aboriginal issues through contact with people at Esgeno�petitj
  • camp in the community under cool summer conditions and/or stay with local Mi�qmaq families
  • possibly participate in a nonviolent public witness relating to Aboriginal fishing concerns
  • communicate their experiences to local congregations, groups and the media upon return
  • raise Cdn$400 to cover delegation expenses. In addition to this, delegation participants will be responsible for the transportation costs to Miramichi, N.B. CPT will arrange the transportation.
CPT seeks individuals with some of the following experience and gifts:
  • interest or experience in Aboriginal issues and human rights work
  • commitment to or experience in non-violent action
  • willingness to engage in public witness, vigils and worship
  • willingness to participate in daily periods of team worship and reflection
For more information or an application form, contact:
Christian Peacemaker Teams
PO Box 72063, 1562 Danforth Ave., Toronto ON M4J 5C1
ph 4164217079, fax 4164671508, email cptcan@web.ca; or
CPT, POB 6508 Chicago, IL 60680
ph 3124551199, fax 3124321213, email cpt@igc.org.
An application form is also available on the CPT website http://www.prairienet.org/cpt

Doug Pritchard
Canada Coordinator
Christian Peacemaker Teams

 

 

 

M�kmaq Yahoo! Group mikmaq@yahoogroups.com
Organization: Elm�knik


Indian Brook Natives Ready to Fish Despite Warnings


ST. MARY'S BAY, N.S. - A native fishing dispute is brewing on the waters of St. Mary's Bay in southwestern Nova Scotia. The native band in Indian Brook, Nova Scotia says its members will go fishing as early as Thursday, with or without federal permission.

INDEPTH: http://cbc.ca/news/indepth/fishing/index.html
June 14, 2001

Dhaliwal Promises to Prevent Fishing

INDIAN BROOK, N.S. - The federal fisheries minister says the government will make sure no one fishes out of season in Nova Scotia. His comments are aimed at the members of the Indian Brook band.

Indian Brook wants to take to the water this week on St. Mary's Bay to fish for lobster. They want the right to fish during the summer, when the season is closed to commercial fishermen.

However Herb Dhaliwal says that won't happen. He says if anyone tries to set traps, the law will be enforced.

The federal Fisheries department has so far rejected the band's request to be allowed to fish in the summer, which is otherwise closed to commercial fishermen.

http://www.halifax2.cbc.ca/

 

 

 

Defiant Nova Scotia tribal band to begin disputed fishery after deadline



June 12, 2001
By Alison Auld
Associated Press
http://www.boston.com/dailynews/163/region/Defiant_Nova_Scotia_tribal_ban:.shtml


HALIFAX, Nova Scotia (AP) A tribal band has vowed to defy Ottawa and head out to one of Nova Scotia's rich lobster grounds this week if Canadian officials refuse to sanction their fishery.

The Indian Brook, Nova Scotia, reservation said Tuesday it will take a flotilla of boats out to St. Mary's Bay by Thursday at the earliest in what could be a repeat of last summer's sometimes violent disputes over tribal fishing rights.

The landlocked band said it was waiting for a letter from the federal Department of Indian and Northern Affairs concerning its fishing rights. Chief Reg Maloney said he was giving the department until Wednesday to indicate how it would respond if tribal fishermen take about eight boats out to the bay on the province's west coast.

He also wants to have in writing the department's rejection of the band's request to be allowed to fish in the summer a time when the area is closed to all commercial fishermen. The department said last week it would not negotiate an immediate fishing arrangement that would allow the band to fish from June 13 to July 31.

"I don't expect an affirmative response, but we just wanted to make sure that the deadline is gone," Maloney said Tuesday after meeting with band councilors over how to proceed. "We're going fishing Thursday at the earliest."

The pledge came despite warnings from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans that officers would likely seize traps and possibly boats, and charge tribal fishermen if they fish illegally. Maloney said about eight boats will head out into the bay to begin what he says is the band's traditional summer fishery.

DFO officers and natives clashed from their boats near wharfs in New Edinburgh, Nova Scotia, last year as officials tried to seize their gear. Several tribal members were charged and the reserve lost most of its boats.

The chief is worried a renewed fishery and new charges might jeopardize the ongoing legal cases the large, economically depressed reserve is already involved in. The band has gone to court in a bid to get back the seized boats and equipment.

"We've been charged enough," Maloney said. "We've got enough court battles. More charges are not going to help us. We're going to have to find money for our defense." Maloney had asked Indian Affairs to grant them access to the fishery based on treaty rights, rather than through interim fishing deals offered through DFO.

The Canadian government has offered Atlantic Canada's 34 tribal bands one- to three-year deals that give them access to the fishery, gear, training and funding. Maloney has resisted the deals since they were offered after the Supreme Court of Canada recognized tribal fishing rights in a September 1999 decision. A later clarification by the court said DFO had the right to regulate the fishery.

Tribal members from Indian Brook are asking for an allowance of 800 lobster traps in the bay. Ottawa has offered about 35 traps.

Non-native fishermen have worried the tribal fishery will lead to a collapse of prized lobster stocks in southern Nova Scotia.

 

 

 

June 12, 2001

Christian Peacemaker Teams Canada Office
1562 Danforth Ave, Box 72063, Toronto ON M4J 5C1
ph. 416-421-7079, fax 416-467-1508, cptcan@web.ca
Contact: Doug Pritchard 416-421-7079


Christian Peacemakers Head to Indian Brook Lobster Fishery

Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) will maintain a violence reduction presence at the lobster fishery in Saint Mary's Bay, southern Nova Scotia, when Indian Brook First Nation begins fishing later this week.

Indian Brook fears a renewal of last year's harassment and violence from federal fisheries officers who have denied their right to a treatybased fishery. Therefore the First Nation has invited CPT to provide an observer team at the fishing grounds.

CPT member Lena Siegers, 57, from Blyth ON, said, "We have been told over and over that the presence of outside observers at Esgeno�petitj [Burnt Church NB] prevented bloodshed last year. That's why I am going to Saint Mary's Bay now."

CPT is sponsored by Mennonites, Brethren, Quakers and other Christians and has violence reduction teams in the Middle East, Colombia, and Mexico. CPT has also maintained a team at Esgeno�petitj again since April of this year. A new team is on its way to Saint Mary's Bay for the duration of this year's lobster fishing season.

 

 

 

 

Dialogue Starts Today First Nation Governance
vs. Self Determination

June 11, 2001
Atlantic Policy Congress Of First Nation Chiefs Secretariat Inc.
www.apcfnc.ca

[Amherst, NS] The Atlantic Chiefs are sick and tired of the Canadian government determining our future without us. Recent attempts by Indian Affairs Minister Robert Nault to consult on the Indian Act 2001/First Nation Governance Act really show governments do want to determine our future. Today our Chiefs have adopted an open, transparent and inclusive process to engage our First Nations on self-determination. All our Chiefs recognize the need for change but want to undertake this based on views, support and input of all Mi�kmaq, Maliseet and Passamaquoddy citizens on and off reserve. We need to set a very high standard of consultation with our people to ensure they are heard. We want our people to help build our First Nation vision of governance at the First Nation level and Tribally. Governance is a term used by Nault and the federal government to paint a rosy picture of what changes need to be made to improve our lives and dismiss the abilities of our First Nation leaders to govern.

"Our people will provide their views on this important issue but will do so together. Governance is about those who are governed not a 2001 Indian Act to create quasi First Nation municipalities," said APC Co-Chair Chief Second Peter Barlow.

Under such a regime the Minister would entrench his power and control over communities and use local dissent as a vehicle of change conducted by the new Indian Agents titled Regional Director Generals. Our Chiefs need to engage our people directly on this issue in person. Not via DIAND agents, the Internet and a well-framed questionnaire to create answers to Government as so called support of a First Nation Governance Act.

"Our Mi�kmaq, Maliseet and Passamaquoddy people must provide views and leadership on governance. Our Chiefs will start by engaging all First Nation in this dialogue" stated Co-Chair Chief Lawrence Paul.

Government has proven again and again that it cannot impose solutions for First Nation Communities, look at 200 years of history.

"Minister Nault can have his legislation but we will still be Mi�kmaq, Maliseet and Passamaquoddy people with aboriginal and treaty rights. We will work to create our future" said Chief Paul.


Contacts: JJ Bear - Communications Officer - jj.bear@apcfnc.ca
(902) 667-4007 work (506) 379-0244 cell

John G. Paul - Executive Director - john.paul@apcfnc.ca
(902) 667-4007 work (902) 694-0323 cell


* This news letter is � And is the property of Gathering Place First Nations,Canadian News and Canadian Aboriginal .Com Compiled by Sharon Green.
** If you would like our News and Special Reports sent out to you, your family , friends or to your list Please Ask.... We would be more then happy to send it to anyone but Please Respect that this is someone's work and Ask......Contact me at sharon.green@sympatico.ca

 

 



June 3, 2001
Halifax Daily News
Parker Barss Donham

 

A federal bureaucrat's assertion that Donald Marshall Jr. would be arrested if he went fishing for lobster today shows how little progress Ottawa has made in living up to the landmark Supreme Court decisions that bear Marshall's name.

It wasn't just the words spoken by Paul Sprout, who lugs around the weighty title of associate assistant deputy minister for fisheries management, it was the amalgam of machismo and condescension in his voice.

"You hear a lot of opinions about this," he said, "But I deal in facts."

The facts, according to Sprout, are that even as it affirmed the Mi'kmaq right to fish for a moderate living, the court said "it's a regulated right, ...not something you can go out and do anytime, any place in any manner."

Like most DFO statements on native fishing, this might be called a selection of facts, adding up to less than half a truth.

The court did confirm Ottawa's power to regulate native fishing, but it's a sharply limited power, not one DFO can exercise, to borrow Sprout's phrase, "anytime, any place in any manner."

The Marshall decisions, like previous Supreme Court judgements on native rights, allow Ottawa to infringe native rights only in pursuit of a pressing and substantial public interest, like conservation. Even then, Ottawa must act in a manner consistent with "the honour of the Crown" and its fiduciary responsibility to Canada's aboriginal people.

In practice, this means Ottawa must deal fairly with Mi'kmaq fishermen, both substantively and procedurally. It must consult them in a bona fide manner. Its regulations must accommodate their right to fish. It must seek the least intrusive way of achieving its overriding policy goals.

In the two and a half years since the Marshall decisions, Ottawa has never consulted Mi'kmaw on its proposed regulations. It has simply insisted they follow existing rules for white fishermen, and vowed John Wayne-like reprisals against any injuns ornery enough to defy them.

"We'll be there," DFO tough guy Andre-Marc Lanteigne said last week. "We're ready for anything, our people are trained, we're well-equipped."

The existing rules for white fishermen are not the only route to conservation. Indeed, in most fisheries, DFO rules have failed to conserve stocks. A policy that respected Supreme Court decisions would, at a minimum, require Ottawa to seriously consider alternative conservation proposals put forth by various Mi'kmaq bands.

DFO refuses to consider a rights based fishery, at least in the short term. Instead, it offers to play what native rights lawyer Bruce Wildsmith calls, "Let's Make a Deal," throwing money, boats, and gear at individual bands in return for their acquiescence to existing white rules.

Why not evaluate the impact of native fishing proposals on conservation, especially since only a relative handful of boats and traps are involved? Because the hyperventilated reaction of white fishermen to the Marshall ruling makes Ottawa fearful of the political fallout from letting natives fish when whites can't.

Is this a pressing and substantial public policy objective, or just political cowardice? Is it respectful of the law, as laid down by the Supreme Court?

The Shubenacadie band has been trying for a year to get a Federal Court ruling on that question. DFO's Justice Department lawyers have pulled out every legal stop in efforts to keep them from getting one.

The band seeks judicial review of DFO's refusal to consider its plan for fishing in St. Mary's Bay last summer, as well as damages for destruction and seizure of fishing gear, and for assaults on, and false imprisonment of, fishermen.

DFO tried to strike the band's statement of claim. When the court said no, it appealed. It appealed the court's decision to grant intervenor status to the non-status Native Council of Nova Scotia (but not the decision to grant two provinces and two white fishermen's groups the same status).

It has now filed a second motion to strike the Shubenacadie Band's statement of claim, and a motion to keep certain documents out of the appeal court record.

As long as DFO can postpone judicial review, it can continue refusing to implement a rights-based fishery. Natives who object are subject to beatings, boat rammings, and seizure of gear and boats, not to mention arrest and prosecution.

Those are the facts associate assistant deputy Sprout and tough guy Lanteigne prefer to overlook. Their omission extends and deepens the centuries-old legacy of betrayal Marshall was intended to redress.

 

 

April 2001
===========================


From: "JJ Bear" jj.bear@apcfnc.ca
Controls debated as lobster season nears


Commercial fishermen seek major changes to the native
food fishery



By Chris Morris / The Canadian Press

RCMP officers leave their inflatable boat at the Neguac, N.B., wharf as they come back from a fishery patrol in front of the Burnt Church reserve in September.

Fredericton - The prospect of a peaceful lobster season in the Maritimes is looking increasingly unlikely as the war of words intensifies between natives, non-natives and the federal government over control of the fishery.

The group representing commercial, non-native fishermen added its voice to the chorus of discontent on Thursday, calling on Ottawa to make major changes to the native food fishery.

The Maritime Fishermen's Union, which represents inshore fishermen in the region, said the food fishery is a commercial operation in disguise and it threatens the Maritime fishing industry and lobster stocks.

"The food fishery is the source of bad relations between natives and non-natives," said Mike Belliveau, spokesman for the fishermen's union.

"It's supposed to be limited for food, social and ceremonial purposes. But it has never been a credible food fishery."

Belliveau said commercial fishermen on New Brunswick's east coast want the aboriginal food fishery to become part of the regular spring lobster fishery. He said the area cannot support two commercial fisheries, one in the spring and another in the fall.

Belliveau said fishermen are frustrated and angry as they head into another season with no certainty about what will happen, especially in the waters of Miramichi Bay near the Burnt Church reserve, the flashpoint in the dispute over native fishing rights.

He warned that if the catches this spring are down, non-native fishermen will blame the Mi'kmaqs of Burnt Church who defied federal fisheries officers last year and set traps for lobsters from late summer until early October.

Lobster season opens May 1.

But Chief Robert Levi of the Big Cove First Nation, near Burnt Church in eastern New Brunswick, dismissed the union's request to change the native food fishery.

"When we go out there and provide food for our community members, they can't seem to understand or accept that these rights are there," Levi said.

In Ottawa on Thursday, Fisheries Minister Herb Dhaliwal said a balance must be struck.

Reprinted under the Fair Use http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.html doctrine of international copyright law.


 

 

Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nation Chiefs Secretariat Inc.

Media Release: April 5, 2001
Contact: JJ Bear - Communications
(902) 667-4007, (506) 379-0244 Cell
(902) 667-7057 Fax, jj.bear@apcfnc.ca

[Amherst, NS]

DFO Refuses to Negotiate



The Atlantic Chiefs are shocked by the strong negative response from Department of Fisheries and Oceans yesterday regarding protecting Mi kmaq, Maliseet and Passamaquoddy treaty rights.

Two days ago, based on a mutual agreement between the Atlantic Chiefs and Minister Herb Dhaliwal in searching for a solution for a specific proposal was put forth, then in a letter dated April 3, 2001, from the Atlantic Policy Congress co-chairs to Minister Dhaliwal, one element of the First Nations fisheries template, a without prejudice definition, was proposed.

On April 4, 2001, APC Co-Chair Chief Lawrence Paul received a phone call from Mr. James Mackenzie, DFO Chief Negotiator, flatly rejected the idea and said he would be heading to the Atlantic Region to entice First Nations individually to sign Fisheries Agreements.

It shows that the Government has no intentions of honouring the Mi kmaq, Maliseet and Passamaquoddy treaty rights that are protected by the Canadian Constitution, said Chief Paul. Mr. Mackenzie is coming to divide and conquer our Nations with the attitude of our way or no way .

The Atlantic Chiefs are left with no room to negotiate with DFO through the Minister or the Chief Federal Representative. It is expected that individual First Nations will design and implement their own Management plans to exercise Treaty Based Fisheries without agreements.

First Nations will adhere to strict Mi kmaq, Maliseet and Passamaquoddy standards of conservation and safety, and they will also respect the Minister s right to regulate via the Fisheries Act, said APC Co-Chair Chief Second Peter Barlow.

In addition, First Nations will consult directly with local non-Aboriginal fishers to allow for a smooth and peaceful transition in the fishery this year, added Chief Barlow.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans outright rejection of the proposal reflects the negative tone of negotiations, which have deteriorated. The Atlantic Chiefs feel that principles of good faith and sincerity are non-existent in dialogues with DFO.

It is our view that negotiations have reached a dead-end and now Mr. Mackenzie will attempt to approach each First Nation individually and use poverty and poor employment statistics as leverage to get agreements, said Chief Paul.

I am greatly concerned that the approach by DFO is totally unreasonable, I believe it reflects directly on the integrity of the Canadian Government, added Chief Paul, I hope the world leaders at the Summit of the Americas in Quebec will ask Prime Minister Jean Cretien how he has dealt with the Mi kmaq, Maliseet and Passamaquoddy people of Atlantic Canada because this is a real example of how the Canadian government uses economic blackmail on Aboriginal people for their treaty rights.

During the summit in Quebec, the Canadian government will be asking the 34 countries to enter into a trade treaty with Canada. The Atlantic Chiefs say that if the government won t honour the treaties they already have, why would other countries want to sign one with Canada.

We, Mi kmaq, Maliseet and Passamaquoddy, have learned from the past, and our future destiny must be set by ourselves as our own government and in our own way, peaceful co-existence as per our treaties, said Chief Barlow.

All people in Atlantic Canada must continue to live in harmony and cooperate to allow us to exercise our constitutionally protected rights to make a moderate livelihood, concluded Chief Barlow.


For more Information please visit our website at www.apcfnc.ca




 

Fishermen, natives talk

 

Commercial fishermen and native fishermen have held face-to-face talks to discuss the participation of natives in the fishery.

The first talks between members of the Maritime Fishermen's Union and some First Nations members who might be interested in joining one or more commercial fisheries took place during the weekend.

Besides being the possible forerunner to an orderly entry into commercial fishing for First Nations fishermen, the talks might also aid in diffusing tension in some northern New Brunswick native and non-native communities over natives exercising their fishing rights.

Friday's first session was more of a get-to-know-you meeting, "not much more than that," said Mike Belliveau, spokesman for the MFU.

 

 



First Nations advised not to sign new fishing agreements with Ottawa

 

WebPosted April 2, 2001
http://cbc.ca/cgi-bin/view?/news/2001/04/02/native010402

HALIFAX - It looks like there may be more trouble on the water during lobster season this year. The fishing deals the federal government had with native bands in Atlantic Canada expired Saturday night.

Not one new agreement has been signed. And in a document obtained by CBC radio, Mi'kmaq chiefs are being told by their lawyers this is the time to stand up for their treaty rights.

For lawyer Bruce Wildsmith, the equation is clear. Native chiefs who sign agreements to fish are signing away their treaty rights. "They're clearly signing them away for the life of the agreement. But that's not the problem. The problem is what's going to be made of these agreements in the future?"

Wildsmith says signing them could set a precedent and limit treaty rights. Last year, federal Fisheries Minister Herb Dhaliwal spoke repeatedly of his department's success, because 32 of 35 Atlantic bands signed one-year agreements with the federal government.

This year none has signed. Dhaliwal says that's OK, he'll give them access to fish, but with a catch. "What they will not be able to have access to is the resources in terms of equipment, training, mentoring," says Dhaliwal.

Nova Scotia Chief Lawrence Paul says the federal government is trying to deal with the Mi'kmaq in the same way the Crown did hundreds of years ago. "They still have the same mentality, 'Give them a couple of beads and a few mirrors and stuff and we'll get what we like.' You know those days are gone and gone forever."

At this point it seems the chiefs will take their lawyer's advice and sign nothing. And that means the tentative calm seen last year in many communities may disappear when the lobster season begins in the next few weeks.

INDEPTH: Fishing Fury http://cbc.ca/news/indepth/fishing/index.html

 

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