Lobster pound used by Mi’kmaw destroyed by fire, Mi’kmaq Warrior Peacekeepers now present as protection
Twitter photo by Pierette d’Entremont
Early this morning, a fire destroyed a lobster pound (building/facility) used by Mi’kmaw fishers in the fishing village of Middle West Pubnico, Nova Scotia.
Global News reports: “The lobster pound is the same one that was swarmed, vandalized and ransacked by a large crowd of non-Indigenous commercial fishers and their supporters Tuesday night.”
That article notes that Mi’kmaw fisher Jason Marr said that non-Indigenous fishers had threatened on Tuesday night to “burn” his group out of the building if they didn’t leave and allow them to take the lobsters they had caught.
This morning, Pam Palmater tweeted: “Mi’kma’ki is my home. All of my family & relatives live there. Racist non-native fishermen continue their violence with what appears to be full impunity. [The RCMP, the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau] are allowing this to happen. This is terrorism on Mi’kmaw land.”
Sipekne’katik Chief Mike Sack has stated: “I am once again calling on Prime Minister Trudeau and the RCMP to dedicate the necessary resources to this region to protect everyone. I am extremely concerned that someone is going to hurt or worse.”
Chief Sack has further commented: “This truly is systemic racism. If it was 300 of our people and 40 of theirs, the place will be full of cops.”
Now, APTN reports that Mi’kmaq Warrior Peacekeepers arrived on Thursday night to keep the peace on and off the water. Shy Francis says: “For security, there’s nobody out here to protect me. That’s my protection, they’re my peacekeepers.”
Nearly a month ago, Chief Sack called on authorities “to uphold the rule of law amid ongoing violence, threats, human rights discrimination” and highlighted “our fisher people are facing harassment, vehicles have been damaged, boats have been damaged. Their fishing gear has been stolen, their lines have been cut. Boats have been burned.”
On September 17, after 21 years of inaction by the Canadian government to provide a framework to implement the Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling affirming the Treaty rights of the Mi’kmaq to fish for a “moderate livelihood”, the Sipekne’katik First Nation issued a small number of licences to Mi’kmaq fishers.
Terence Augustine has highlighted that fishing is also an inherent right of the Mi’kmaq and adds that non-Mi’kmaw fishers have ramped up the rhetoric of overfishing. That’s because Mi’kmaq fishers have set about 350 lobster traps while the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans has issued permits for about 367,125 lobster traps.
For more, please see Ways to Support Mi’kmaq Treaty Rights and Livelihood Fisheries that includes how to make a financial donation, drop off supplies, Mi’kmaw to follow on Instagram and Twitter for updates and commentary, and additional resources.
There is also this template circulating on social media to Take Action to Support Mi’kmaq fisherpeople facing threats, attacks and discrimination.