Protesters Come together to denounce changes to Aboriginal Rights that are being stampeded by Omnibus budget bill
MILLBROOK NS- Members of the Mi’kmaq Nation, are opposed to the impending framework agreements under the premises of economic opportunity, the Made in Nova Scotia Process, and the Made in New Brunswick Process.
“The framework agreements promise economic opportunity for a select group of Mi’kmaq people at the price of all Mi’kmaq peoples inherent treaties ”, said Marina Young, “Our people are already living under a paternalistic government within the Indian Act itself where Chiefs tell the people how their community will be run. We have a voice and we say “NO!” to the Made in Nova Scotia Process and the Made in New Brunswick Process. Drastic measures have been implemented with the declaration of a hunger strike by a citizens assembly in the Mi’kmaq community comprised of members from each of the neighboring provinces. The lead fasters, who will consume only water throughout the duration, will be Idle No More organizer Shelley Young, a member of Eskasoni First Nation and Jean Sock, a member of the New Brunswick reservation Elsipogtog.
Jean and Shelley represent the communities who feel they have not yet been consulted about this process, and feel that their current leadership should not be dealing with a federal government who has openly disregarded First Nation’s treaties with the passing of Bill C-45, which they say is a direct assault on Aboriginal communities and land designated for sale by Mi’kmaq leadership along with the Harper government to major oil and mining companies. The Fast will commence at midnight, Thursday, on the Millbrook reservation and will continue until a majority opts out of the process or is willing to halt the process until the Harper government is no longer in office.
“Our treaties are our identity, we are raised in our communities to understand the importance of our right to a sustainable living, and we understand that these were friendship treaties made to benefit all, but here we are. The Canadian government has benefited the most of all“, says Bryson Sylliboy of Indianbrook. “Bill C-45 and the Made In Nova Scotia process are very closely mirrored, one of ‘Jobs and Growth’ and the other ‘Economic Opportunity.”
“We’ve been protesting against the Harper Government since December for their lack of consultation with our leaders for C-45 and other impending bills, yet our own leaders fail to consult with us on negotiations that regard our rights, impact our lands and extinguish our treaties. Information sessions done in select few communities where a handful of people show is not deemed proper consultation. Band members should have complete understanding of these comprehensive claim policies and be in full support of them if they are to continue. These processes will ultimately be detrimental to our lands, Mi’kmaq people will have different rights in different provinces, our original treaties will be extinguished (labelled “certainty” in the federal policy), and will effect our children and future generations to come.” says Shelley Young of Eskasoni.
The group is also asking for support from allies who are concerned about how these bills will affect them. The threat of modernizing treaties and negotiating with a government that clearly disrespects these contracts is crucial to the people of Canada. “It has been stated that the Native people are Canada’s last hope in protecting our lands and our waterways for all of us to enjoy.
Idle No More “Nation First” will be holding a Press Conference on Friday, March 1 at 10:00am. All persons concerned with the damages these modernized treaties will have on Canada’s lakes and water ways, Canada’s Human Rights Groups and Aboriginal Treaty Right is urged to attend.