The Christian Science Monitor : 2020-12-07

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ANDREW VAUGHAN/THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP Members of the Sipekne’katik First Nation head out from the wharf in Saulniervi­lle, Nova Scotia, after the launch of a self-regulated fishery in September (photo left). Non-Indigenous boats protest the launch of the fishery, which operates outside the regular lobster season (photo above). T HALIFAX AND TORONTO he day began bright and clear in St. Mary’s Bay, a narrow finger of water running alongside the southweste­rn coast of Nova Scotia. For Fallon Peter-Paul, Sept. 17 was to be a festive occasion affirming her Indigenous rights. Along with other members of the Sipekne’katik First Nation, she’d gathered on the wharf in Saulniervi­lle to celebrate the inaugurati­on of the community’s first lobster fishery aimed at helping members earn a modest living. It was intentiona­lly launched outside the official government-set season for lobstering – and exactly 21 years to the day after Canada’s Supreme Court reaffirmed the right of the Mi’kmaq to do so. After years of failed negotiatio­ns to put these rights into practice, the Mi’kmaq knew they would be provoking a reaction from non-Indigenous lobstermen and women whose families had worked these waters since the 1600s. But they didn’t expect what ensued. The mood quickly became menacing the very first day. Ms. Peter-Paul, a photograph­er, documented community members standing on the armor stone breakwater that circled the wharf like a comma, looking out into the bay, where several dozen boats from non-Indigenous fishing communitie­s were waiting. Once out on the water, Indigenous lobstermen and women reported acts of intimidati­on by the other fishers, who cut traps and fired flares at Mi’kmaw boats. “It was a really powerful moment,” says Ms. Peter-Paul. “And it was also really sad ... that all of those people were there because they didn’t believe we should be doing what we were doing, practicing our treaty rights.” JOHN MORRIS/REUTERS Lobsters sit in a crate aboard an Indigenous fishing boat on the Meteghan River in Nova Scotia. ANDREW VAUGHAN/THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR WEEKLY | DECEMBER 7, 2020 23 PRINTED AND DISTRIBUTE­D BY PRESSREADE­R PressReade­ +1 604 278 4604 ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY COPYRIGHT AND PROTECTED BY APPLICABLE LAW