Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
A couple of hundred people rallied outside of RCMP K Division headquarters in downtown Edmonton on Oct. 24 as part of the National Day of Action to support Mi'kmaq lobster fishers in Nova Scotia.
Participants demanded RCMP take action against those who have been using violence and intimidation to prevent Indigenous lobster fishers from exercising their treaty right to catch and sell lobster.
“Earlier this week I went to another demonstration for two Indigenous hunters who were killed for trying to feed their families, and they don't have justice at this point,” said Grand Chief Billy Morin of the Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations. He attended the rally with his two young sons.
“For the exact same reason, those Mi'kmaq fishermen are getting their rights taken away. Whether you're in Eastern Canada or Western Canada where treaties cover this whole land, the rights are still the same. Treaties still exist. That's why we're here today.”
Morin said if the RCMP ever questioned Treaty 6 rights to gather, “ever questioned if these rights still exist, ever questioned that our little people will still carry the words of our ancestors that we belong to the land first and we have rights, today is our answer.”
The Edmonton protest was organized by grassroots community members, in particular women, which Grand Chief Morin made a point of highlighting.
The protest outside of the RCMP headquarters also included a song from grandmother/grandson duo Chubby Cree, and an opening prayer from Community Grandmother Kohkum Kathy Hamelin.
The protesters later took to the street to march to a nearby park.
Local Journalism Initiative Reporters are supported by a financial contribution made by the Government of Canada.