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the ongoing violence against Mi’kmaq people in Canada


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this has been making waves over the past few days, and it's probably worth talking about here because it's a good illustration of how Canada has a lot of the problems the US does on certain issues, they just go ignored

CWs for: racism and anti-indigenous bullshit

so, starting last tuesday (September 15), fleets of Nova Scotia fishermen have been "protesting" what they deemed "out of control" and "illegal" fishing operations by the Mi’kmaq First Nations. this "protest" has thus far mostly taken the form of (1) doing a fuck ton of damage to native fishing infrastructure [2]; (2) screaming at native people (despite the fact that the Supreme Court of Canada has upheld the right of the Mi’kmaq First Nations to "fish for a moderate livelihood"); and (3) continually preventing Mi’kmaq fishermen from going anywhere by essentially blockading them.

some efforts to stop people from buying Mi’kmaq-fished lobsters are, as of yesterday, also seemingly taking place ; the local Chamber of Commerce has, since Sunday, basically called for police to occupy the area

both online and on the ground, there has been a quite large surge in anti-indigenous/nationalist racism:

the RCMP has mostly done fuck all, unsurprisingly.

it does seem that there is at least some favorable progress overall here for the Mi’kmaq, which is good: earlier, both the fisheries minister and the Indigenous relations minister reaffirmed that the Mi’kmaq have a constitutionally protected treaty right to fish in pursuit of a moderate livelihood. the Nova Scotian government has also reaffirmed this, although mostly because the Mi’kmaq threatened to shut down the moose hunting season.

this remains a developing situation, though, and you can count on the state continuing to fuck over indigenous people so there's no real telling what the future holds here. here is a document detailing ways to help the Mi’kmaq, if you happen to be able to contribute to their struggle.

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Saw an idiotic take on twitter about how "we have a fishing season for a reason"

Yeah, WE have a fishing season because we're so outta fucking control we'd annihilate the goddamn ecosystem if we didn't force ourselves to stop periodically (spoilers: we're still doing that anyway). It's a problem unique to us, the Mi'kmaq were doing just fine for centuries+ before we came along and wrecked shit.

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To add more context, the main complaint that Nova Scotia commercial fisherman claim to be upset about is about sustainability of the fish and lobster populations. On its surface, it might seem like a reasonable concern, but just a little digging shows that this argument does not hold water.

From my research, the population of Nova Scotia is around 970,000 and only about 3.5% of that are the Mi’kmaq First Nations, so it is highly unlikely that the Mi’kmaq fishing out of season would create a large impact. Furthermore, the official Nova Scotia fishing industry reported a gross of about $1 billion in total fishing value in 2014 (https://novascotia.ca/fish/commercial-fisheries/industry-overview/). When compared to the Mi'kmaq fishing industry (a reported $150 million in 2016: https://macdonaldlaurier.ca/files/pdf/20191015_Marshall_Decision_20th_Coates_PAPER_FWeb.pdf), this shows that in terms of total fishing volume for the region, the Mi'kmaq fishing industry would account for only 13% of total fishing volume for a year (this estimate INCLUDES the debated over out of season fishing). This volume for the Mi'kmaq people has already been analyzed and deemed a sustainable practice (see the above pdf).

My suspicion is that the real motivation behind these allegations is driven by corporate greed (on the part of the Nova Scotia commercial fishing industry) coupled with racism and bigotry (from some of the more deplorable locals and fishermen).

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  • 3 weeks later...

this remains ongoing and has massively escalated recently:

https://web.archive.org/web/20201014132006/http://kukukwes.com/2020/10/14/angry-mob-trap-mikmaw-fishermen-at-a-lobster-pound-in-southwestern-nova-scotia/

Quote

According to Jason Marr, a Mi’kmaw lobster fisherman with the Sipekne’katik First Nation, N.S., the angry crowd also set fire to his van and threw rocks at the facility’s windows in West Pubnico while he and another fisherman, Randy Sack, were trapped inside.

“Right now, I’m barricaded inside the building. I’ve got it all locked down,” Marr said when reached via cell phone.

“Even while the (RCMP) are outside now, they’re throwing rocks through the windows and kicking the doors,” Marr said while describing the scene as it happened.

Marr said he fled to the lobster pound in West Pubnico Tuesday evening when he heard that a mob of non-Indigenous fishermen were heading to the wharf in Saulnierville to seize lobsters caught by Mi’kmaw lobster harvesters like himself and release them back into St. Mary’s Bay.

...

Mi’kmaw harvesters arrived in West Pubnico to support Marr and Sack. Several of them live-streamed what they saw using their smartphones which they uploaded to Facebook.

Marr also live-streamed what was happening to him inside the lobster pound.

In the videos, many non-Indigenous fishermen could be seen standing in front of the lobster pound. There were several shouting matches between them and the Mi’kmaw harvesters.

At one point, the fishermen turn their attention to a building next to the lobster pound. The video shows one of them ripping apart cardboard boxes and throwing the bait inside onto the ground.

According to the video, Marr’s family members were able to get inside the lobster pound only to find all but ten crates of lobster missing. The remaining lobsters appeared to have been poisoned with a can of PVC cement.

 

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