Dalhousie’s faculty association is investigating after the university’s president emailed teachers, staff and students to warn them against making negative comments about an Indigenous-run fishery.
The letter comes following weeks of tension between Indigenous and non-Indigenous fishers over the right of the Mi’kmaq First Nation to fish and sell lobster during the off-season in southwestern Nova Scotia.
Faculty association president David Westwood said Wednesday his organization is looking into whether the email from Dalhousie president Deep Saini and vice-provost Theresa Rajack-Talley is a violation of academic freedom.
The email, dated Sept. 23, says negative comments against the Mi’kmaq community’s right to a livelihood are not reflective of Dalhousie’s core values.
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Mi’kmaq fishers have been asserting their treaty right, which was affirmed in a 1999 Supreme Court decision, to fish for a moderate livelihood.
Non-Indigenous fishers say the Mi’kmaq should follow the licensing system established by the federal government, which prohibits lobster fishing during the off-season, which is from May to November.
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