N.S. Mi’kmaq celebrate treaty rights and achievements on annual Treaty Day
On Monday, several hundred Mi'kmaq from across Nova Scotia filled downtown Halifax for Treaty Day.
Thirty years ago, October 1 was proclaimed Treaty Day, a day to celebrate the relationship between Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq and the government.
A flag was raised at City Hall and Province House to acknowledge indigenous rights. Monday also marks the start of Mi’kmaq History Month.
“I am so proud to be Mi’kmaq and I am so proud to be different and unique because I am Mi’kmaq,” says Maisyn Sock.
There was also a silent protest during the celebrations. People living in central Nova Scotia near a natural gas storage project say their rights are being infringed upon.
“One of the things it is going to interfere with is our right with our treaty is that if Alton Gas continues with their project, we will not be able to continue with our livelihood of fishing,” says Ashley Julian.
At a ceremony to honour the importance of treaty rights and achievements of Mi’kmaq elders and youth, indigenous chiefs spoke about protecting natural resources. They also asked for better consultation.
“Look at the corporation that is literally taking all of the resources. How do you feed each other? How do you help each other? That is the question,” says Grand Keptin Andrew Denny of the Mi'kmaq Grand Council.
There was also mention of former Grand Chief Gabriel Sylliboy who was convicted for hunting out of season 90 years ago. There was talk about a future apology and possible pardon.
“It is symbolic for all of the people many other Mi’kmaq who may have been charged at that time when the treaties were not being recognized,” says NS Justice Minister Diana Whalen.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kelland Sundahl.