National Head of the Assembly of First Nations Visits NS to Show Solidarity with Sipekne’katik Fishery – Halifax | The Canadian News

First Nations fishermen in southwestern Nova Scotia received a show of support Thursday from Heads and National Chiefs of the Assembly of First Nations from across the region.

National Chief RoseAnne Archibald was in St. Mary’s Bay, hauling lobster traps along with Sipekne’katik First Nation Chief Mike Sack.

Sack was arrested last month by Fisheries and Oceans of Canada (DFO) officials for being “part of the crime of (an) unauthorized fishing,” but said his gang members would continue to fish in St. Mary’s Bay, like it. or not to Ottawa.

Read more:

Federal Minister’s Office Concerned Over Nova Scotia Gang’s Intent to Catch Lobster

“When I’m here today and I see First Nations in this region exercising their treaty and inherent rights, to me, that’s a light to the future,” Archibald said.

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They did so under the watchful eye of federal fisheries conservation officials. While it was a calm day on the water, it hasn’t always been like this.

Sack said the DFO has been capturing traps almost as fast as they had set them.

“It is every day. They are out there right now. I don’t know if they noticed the boats approaching and it hasn’t stopped. It’s constant harassment, so I hope we can change that today, ”he said.

He confirmed that he had informed DFO of Thursday’s activities, which included an availability with the media.

“They were fully aware. They reconfirmed that they thought we were not allowed to fish, ”he said.

“They had the opportunity to get a group of chiefs, a national chief, and they decided not to.”

The Sipekne’katik First Nation argues that a 1999 Canadian Supreme Court decision affirming its members’ right to fish under the treaty allows them to harvest lobster year-round to earn a “moderate livelihood.”

Click to play video: 'Chief Mike Sack Arrested By Conservation Officers'

Chief Mike Sack Arrested By Conservation Officers

Chief Mike Sack Arrested By Conservation Officers – Aug 16, 2021

But the court has also said that the government can regulate that treaty right for conservation and other limited purposes. Federal regulation dictates that the area where the Sipekne’katik First Nations fishery operates in southwestern Nova Scotia – LFA 34 – is open for lobster fishing from the last Monday in November through the end of May.

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Last September, the gang launched a self-regulated lobster fishery outside of the federally regulated season, sparking violence and the burning of a pound of lobster stored by indigenous fish.

On Thursday, RCMP said in a press release that a 29-year-old man had been arrested and charged with arson in connection with the October 2020 fire. Another man had previously been arrested in July this year.

Read more:

The Royal Nova Scotia Mounted Police make another arrest in October 2020 for a fire at a fish plant

Sack and other chiefs say they are counting on the federal government elected in this month’s election to recognize the treaties and uphold the Supreme Court’s decision to allow indigenous fishermen to fish for a moderate livelihood.

The gang traps are not authorized by the Fisheries Law. And Noel d’Entremont of the Fisheries Department told The Canadian Press last month that the federal agency will continue to remove the lobster traps and seize them as evidence.

The Assembly of First Nations has a list of electoral priorities, including promoting peace while respecting First Nations sovereignty and jurisdiction.

National Chief Archibald alleges that Canada has made broken promises and apologies.

“It is time for these promises to be realized through commitments to recognize, respect and promote the rights of First Nations,” he said.

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– with a file from The Canadian Press

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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