Indigenous chief calls for recognition of fishing treaty rights ahead of elections

The chief of a Nova Scotia First Nation has issued an appeal ahead of the provincial and widely anticipated federal elections for the recognition of Indigenous Peoples fishing treaty rights.

Chief Mike Sack of the Sipekne’katik First Nation says the impacts of colonization and the residential school system have had a stranglehold on Indigenous communities for decades.

He says the Mi’kmaq community in central Nova Scotia has the highest percentage of childhood poverty in the province.

Sack says a sustainable fishery would help address the economic disparity by providing the Indigenous community with a livelihood.

But he says the strict restrictions and limitations on what Indigenous fishers can catch and sell further perpetuates the cycle of injustice.

Sack is calling on all levels of government to recognize treaty rights.

“There has never been a truly nation-to-nation understanding,” he said in a statement. “It is time for governments to recognize that a treaty is an agreement between two equal bodies.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 7, 2021.

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