Statement of Support for Our Sipekne’katik Relatives and All Mi’kmaq Fishers

Submitted by Kai Wise on

Statement of Support for Our Sipekne’katik Relatives and All Mi’kmaq Fishers

October 29, 2020

The University of Washington’s American Indian Studies Department (AIS) stands in solidarity with our Sipekne’katik relatives and all Mi’kmaq fishers currently exercising their inherent right to food and territorial sovereignty. We condemn the racism and violence from non-Indigenous fishermen directed at Mi’kmaq fishers and call on the Governments of Nova Scotia and Canada to safeguard the inherent rights of all First Nations and to take action where Indigenous lives and livelihoods are threatened.

AIS is committed to interdisciplinary scholarship in support of Indigenous wellness, political sovereignty, cultural revitalization, land-connected practices, and environmental self-determination. We know from our research and experience that settler colonialism has led to violence and systemic racism that puts Indigenous peoples and communities at risk, disrupts land-based relationships, threatens cultural and constitutionally-protected treaty rights, and the ability to sustain themselves within their respective territories. 

Here in the Northwest Coast we have also witnessed attacks on cultural and treaty rights, from the 1960s and 70s “Fish Wars” to settler protests over the Makah’s reassertion of their treaty right to hunt whales in 1999. The ongoing attacks on Mi’kmaq fishers are in direct contravention of the Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling in R v. Marshall (1999) that protects Indigenous peoples' inherent rights to fish.

To the Sipekne’katik Nation and all Mi’kmaq people, we stand beside you in this time of struggle, recognizing your courage and the sacrifices you have made as protectors of your territories. We will continue to work together in creating an environment where First Nations/Indigenous people and communities will thrive culturally, spiritually, socially, and politically.