Walpole Island First Nation officials are lending their “full support” for the First Nations of Mi’kmaki in exercising their right to fish and make a living.
“On behalf of Walpole Island First Nation, we want to express our full support for the First Nations of Mi’kmaki exercising their Aboriginal right to fish and make a moderate livelihood in your unceded territory and accordance with the treaty of 1752,” Walpole Island Chief Charles Sampson said in a letter posted on social media.
“To our sisters and brothers of the Sipekne’katik, Potlotek, and other Mi’kmaq First Nations, we urge you to continue to remain strong and resilient.”
Chief Sampson added: “Please know that our hearts are there with you on Mi’kmaki and we extend an offer of support to you to reach out if there is anything that we can do to assist during this difficult time.”
Chief Sampson said Walpole Island honours and appreciates “everything that you are doing” to advance these rights and lead everyone on Turtle Island “as we navigate through these dangerous times.
“We are appalled and saddened by the actions taken by those who are carrying out these hateful, racist, and terrorist acts against the Mi’kmaq. We hope for strength, safety, and understanding for all involved,” Chief Sampson said.
“We are even more appalled, but unfortunately not surprised, at the lack of action from the federal government with regards to these terrorist attacks against the Mi’kmaq people as they exercise their constitutionally protected and Supreme Court recognized inherent rights.”
If these same acts were being perpetrated by Indigenous individuals, Chief Sampson said he thinks the response would be significantly different.
“Systemic racism is alive and well and being perpetuated by those who placed themselves in charge of the well-being of First Nations people,” the newly elected Chief stated.
“Shame on you Canada. You have shirked your fiduciary duty for far too long, and this is the result. Our eyes are on Mi’kmaki, the eyes of the entire world are on Mi’kmaki right now. Canada is being exposed and we urge you to do better, before it’s too late.”
Chief Sampson said this is a “defining moment” for Canada.
“I sincerely hope that one day our children and grandchildren can look back at this time and say that Canada stepped up and did the right thing; and it led to a new relationship between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous people of Turtle Island,” Chief Sampson said.
“The longer this continues, the further away we get from the path of reconciliation that we are supposed to be travelling together. We call upon the federal government to immediately take steps to protect the well-being and rights of the Mi’kmaq and diffuse this situation.”
Chief Sampson’s letter of support comes just days after he announced that Walpole Island is “very concerned about the treatment our Mi’kmaq brothers and sisters” during a press conference regarding Provincial funding for Wallaceburg’s hospital.
During the same speech on Friday, Chief Sampson also announced Walpole Island plans to exercise their “inherent constitutional right” to commercially fish in their surrounding and traditional waters.
More details, here: Chief says Walpole Island is planning to start commercial fishing