On Saturday at the Vancouver Art Gallery – all eyes will be on Miꞌkmaq peoples.
Vancouver activists including Dakota Bear and allies plan to take a stand during the ongoing Indigenous fishing treaty-rights crisis in Nova Scotia.
"Our message is respect. Indigenous rights, treaties, and title – we stand together in solidarity not only in Vancouver but across Canada with the Mi’kma’ki nation and the land defenders all across Turtle Island," Bear told Vancouver Is Awesome.
The demonstration will be part of the national Mi'kmaw National Week of Action, which will see peaceful protests in cities including Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, and Saint John’s.
The planning started Friday, Oct. 19 – the same day non-Indigenous mobs burned down a fish plant in Central West Pubnico, destroying Mi'kmaq fishers’ lobster catch provisions.
Other acts of intimidation have also recently been perpetrated upon the fishers, including a mob attack and seizure of several hundred Mi'kmaw traps by non-Indigenous commercial fishermen.
These acts have ignited calls for justice in the First Nations territory.
National Solidarity Week for Mi'kma'ki!! Find action near you (still updating) or drop links to actions happening and we can add to the list! #IdleNoMore #LandBack 👇🏾👇🏾 https://fb.me/e/1CYH6lTGPPosted by Idle No More on Monday, October 19, 2020
In 1999, Canada’s Supreme Court ruled in favour of 250-year-old treaties upholding Mi’kmaw fishing rights, including the right for them to earn a “moderate livelihood” through the activity.
This includes the harvesting and selling fish year-round, First Nations continue to argue. Non-Indigenous commercial fishermen are limited, by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, to certain time periods for harvesting lobster.
“The inability for Mi’kmaw people to access their constitutionally protected inherent rights is a gross violation, and abolishes reconciliation,” said Mi’kmaw activist Suzanne Patles.
“It is because of this that we are requesting assistance from our sister nations and allies.”
Protestors are asked to adhere to COVID-19 safety measures, including social distancing and wearing face masks during the demonstration.
The rally will begin Saturday at 1 p.m.