In the days leading up to the Sipekne’katik First Nation’s plans to fish outside of the commercial fishing season, members of multiple faith traditions will be taking time to pray and meditate for two things: that the Sipekne’katik First Nation fishery will not be subjected to violence; and that Indigenous moderate livelihood fishing rights be respected.
The Sipekne’katik First Nation band will not be launching its moderate livelihood fishery on June 1 as previously planned, but rather will be fishing lobster under communal, social, and ceremonial licenses. The decision was made by the band primarily out of concern for the safety and wellbeing of Mi’kmaw fishers, who were met with violence and racism last year as they exercised their right to fish for a moderate livelihood.
The invitation to offer prayers is being coordinated by a newly-formed group: the Interfaith Coalition for Treaty Rights. This group is comprised of Buddhists, Unitarians, Quakers, members of several Christian denominations, and others. In the coming days, they will be joined by Jews, Muslims, African Baptists, Sikhs, Mennonites, Roman Catholics and others who are concerned about the possibility of further violence and violations of treaty rights as the Mi’kmaw fishery resumes. Photos of participating faith representatives will be posted to Instagram – see #Praying4PeaceandFriendship
A United Nations committee on racism recently asked the Canadian government to respond to allegations that it failed to respond to racism and threats of violence against Mi’kmaw fishers. We are still waiting for the federal government’s response.
If you're interested in getting involved, send an email to Atlantic@sierraclub.ca