Give back the traps, respect the treaties

Send an email to Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans at min@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

Sample letter:

The challenges that Mi’kmaq fishers face as they are trying to assert their treaty right to fish are shocking. I have been horrified by the reports of violence, threats, intimidation, arson and vandalism against Mi’kmaq fishers and their equipment. I am also horrified to learn that your department has pulled traps out of the water from Mi’kmaq fishers in St Peter’s Bay, Unama’ki (Cape Breton).

The Peace and Friendship Treaty signed in 1752 lays out an agreement to share the land and describes a relationship of non-interference. From that treaty:

“It is agreed that the said Tribe of Indians shall not be hindered from, but have free liberty of Hunting & Fishing as usual… The said Indians shall have free liberty to bring for Sale to Halifax or any other Settlement within this Province, Skins, feathers, fowl, fish or any other thing they shall have to sell, where they shall have liberty to dispose thereof to the best Advantage.”

Seizing Mi’kmaq fishers’ traps is a clear violation of the promise to enable “free liberty of hunting and fishing as usual.” It is also contradictory to a statement you made on October 19th, affirming that the Mi’kmaq right to fish is not up for debate and that Mi’kmaq should be enabled to make a livelihood from fishing “the way their people have for thousands of years.”

I am calling on you to live up to the Peace and Friendship Treaties with the Mi’kmaq Nation, to enable Mi’kmaq to conduct a livelihood fishery free from harassment and persecution, and to direct your department to stop stealing traps from Mi’kmaq fishers and return the traps that have already been taken.

Signed in respect for the Peace and Friendship Treaties,