The chief of a Mi’kmaq First Nation says an angry group of non-Indigenous lobster harvesters damaged lobster pounds holding his people’s catch and burned a vehicle belonging to an Indigenous harvester on Monday night Members of the Sipekne’katik First Nation load lobster traps on the wharf in Saulnierville, N.S., after launching its own self-regulated fishery on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

The chief of a Mi’kmaq First Nation says an angry group of non-Indigenous lobster harvesters damaged lobster pounds holding his people’s catch and burned a vehicle belonging to an Indigenous harvester on Monday night Members of the Sipekne’katik First Nation load lobster traps on the wharf in Saulnierville, N.S., after launching its own self-regulated fishery on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

Indigenous fishers in Nova Scotia have lobster taken, van burned as tensions heighten: chief

Video being circulated on social media shows a van being set alight

The chief of a Mi’kmaq First Nation says an angry group of non-Indigenous people damaged lobster pounds holding his people’s catch and burned a vehicle on Tuesday night.

Video being circulated on social media shows a van being set alight in West Pubnico, N.S., during one of the tense encounters.

Chief Mike Sack of Sipekne’katik First Nation says damage occurred at two locations, one in West Pubnico and the other in the Weymouth area, and lobster caught by the Indigenous fishers was removed from lobster pounds.

“Local fishermen attacked two lobster buying facilities and did a lot of damage, burned vehicles, took lobsters,” Sack said in a telephone interview Wednesday. “Whatever they wanted to do, happened.”

Sack said two Indigenous harvesters were at the lobster pound in West Pubnico when people broke a door, a van was burned and their catch was taken away.

“My reaction is, I can’t believe how they are getting away with these terrorist, hate crime acts and the police are there,” he said.

“I called an emergency meeting with my council this morning, and we’re trying to figure out our next steps to figure out what we’re going to do to ensure our people’s safety.”

The RCMP were present for some of the incident but did not have official comment Wednesday morning on what had occurred.

The Indigenous fishers are conducting a fishery outside of the federally regulated season based on a 1999 Supreme Court of Canada decision that ruled East Coast Indigenous groups have the right to fish for a “moderate livelihood,” though a second ruling stated this was subject to federal regulation.

Since the Mi’kmaq fishery opened last month, there have been tensions on and off the water, with traps hauled from the sea by non-Indigenous harvesters and a boat belonging to a Mi’kmaq fisherman burned at a wharf.

Sack says he has contacted federal Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan about the growing strife as well as the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations.

The chief says the latest incidents began to unfold Tuesday evening as he was meeting with the 11 lobster harvesters his band has licensed for a moderate livelihood fishery in St. Marys Bay. Each of their boats uses about 50 traps in the inshore fishery, while commercial Indigenous and non-Indigenous fishers who operate beginning in late November use between 375 and 400 traps.

Sack says that as the Indigenous fishers were meeting, they heard of the incidents at the holding pounds, and some of the Indigenous fishers went to the locations. The chief said nobody was hurt in the incidents, but there were confrontations and shouting at the scenes.

Michael Tutton, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

fishingIndigenous

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Fraser Valley Health Care Foundation held its inaugural Grand Gala in November 2019 at Harrison Hot Springs Resort. This year’s event will be held online. (Submitted photo)
Fraser Valley Health Care Foundation holds virtual Grand Gala

Second annual event takes place online on Nov. 20, raising funds for local hospitals

Chilliwack has several railway crossings that can be hazardous to inattentive and unprepared drivers during the fall and winter months. (Martin Duperre photo)
CN Rail urges Fraser Valley drivers to be careful around railway crossings

The danger level jumps up during icy, windy fall and winter months causing a spike in accidents

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Mt. Cheam closes for COVID-19 isolation measures, moving to online learning

School principal confirms coronavirus exposure led to staffing reduction and need to close

Jordan Naterer, 25, was last seen Saturday Oct. 10. He planned a hike in the Manning Park area, and has not been seen since. Photo Facebook.
Parents not giving up, after official search for Manning Park hiker suspended again

‘We are determined, but eventually the money is going to run out.’

Carolyn and Steve Touhey came across a pod of humpback whales while on their boat Sunday, Oct. 25. Photo supplied
VIDEO: Boaters encounter pod of humpbacks in Georgia Strait

Pod spotted between Comox and Texada Island

It’s been eight years since Gordon Spencer (pictured), and cousin, ‘Lil’ Bruce Mayo, were gunned down in a home in Langley, and Spencer’s widow is hoping someone who knows something will step up (file)
Eight years on and still no answers in Langley double murder

Wife of victim makes public appeal for people with information to come forward

Langley resident Sean Nugent, who died in 2019 shortly he saved a swimmer from drowning, has been awarded a posthumous medal for bravery by the Royal Canadian Humane Association (Courtesy Nugent family)
Langley man who died after saving swimmer receives posthumous medal for bravery

Sean Nugent rescued woman from Hayward Lake near Mission in July of 2019

Washington State Department of Agriculture workers, wearing protective suits and working vacuumed a nest of Asian giant hornets from a tree Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. Scientists in Washington state discovered the first nest earlier in the week of so-called murder hornets in the United States and worked to wipe it out Saturday morning to protect native honeybees. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Nest of ‘murder hornets’ found near South Surrey

String of traps set up along border to capture Asian giant hornets

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau says pandemic ‘really sucks,’ and that Christmas gatherings are up in the air

The prime minister encouraged residents to continue to follow the advice of local health authorities

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

The Williams Lake Indian Band is stipulating no-go zones for mushroom picking in areas burned by last summer’s wildfires. 100 Mile Free Press photo
Who controls mushroom harvesting on Indigenous lands?

‘We don’t necessarily know where the mushrooms grow, how old the stands need to be, those types of things.’

Canadian and American flags fly near the Ambassador Bridge at the Canada/USA border crossing in Windsor, Ont. on Saturday, March 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rob Gurdebeke
U.S. election results one factor that could impact immigration to Canada next year

The survey polled 1,523 Canadians between Oct. 23 and Oct. 25

Most Read