NAN Supports Sipekne’katik First Nation

Thunder Bay, ON: Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler has issued the following statement in support of the Sipekne’katik First Nation fishers who are facing increasing violence and harassment on St. Mary’s Bay in Nova Scotia for asserting their Treaty right to harvest:

“NAN and many First Nation leaders across Canada are outraged by the aggression that we are witnessing against our brothers and sisters on St. Mary’s Bay. It is unacceptable that the constitutionally protected rights of the Sipekne’katik fishers are still being denied without meaningful assistance or concrete intervention by the Government of Canada.

We strongly condemn the actions of these racist mobs who have sabotaged this moderate livelihood fishery and committed acts of violence and intimidation, and we applaud the Sipekne’katik fishers for remaining peaceful under such difficult circumstances

Today, we expressed our support to Chief Michael Sack and his Council during our Chiefs Fall Assembly, and we have advised the Indigenous Services Minister of our position. The lack of action from Ottawa speaks volumes, and First Nations are forced to wonder how seriously this government takes our Treaty rights.

We stand in unity and solidary with Sipekne’katik First Nation as they assert their Treaty and inherent rights. The Supreme Court of Canada has also upheld these rights. We call on the Prime Minister and the Fisheries Minister to intervene to ensure the safety of these fishers and work with leadership to implement this ruling.

Rights must be respected, and this violence must end. Unlike the RCMP, we will not stand idly by as racist mobs attack Indigenous leaders while they peacefully exercise their Treaty right to harvest and provide for their families and communities.

This unacceptable situation is causing the community a lot of hardship, and we have offered to help these brave warriors in any way we can. In the meantime, we will make a financial contribution to support their struggle, and we encourage everyone to consider donating within their means.”

Donations for the Sipekne’katik fishers can be made electronically via e-transfers or PayPal to monicah@sipeknekatik.ca. Donated funds will be used to support the fishers by replacing fishing gear and paying legal and wharf fees.

For more information please contact:
Michael Heintzman
Director of Communications
Office: (807) 625-4965
Cell: (807) 621-2790
mheintzman@nan.ca