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Mi’kmaw leaders on P.E.I. chart course for self-governance

Leaders of the Mi’kmaq First Nations on P.E.I. gathered this weekend in Charlottetown to assist decide a imaginative and prescient for present and future generations that might finally result in a broader type of self-governance.

However first, stated Chief Darlene Bernard, there must be a better understanding of treaty rights not simply among the many normal inhabitants, however the Mi’kmaw neighborhood, as properly.

“That is our precedence proper now, is to teach everyone in order that we’re all on the identical web page after which after we discuss these greater points round self-determination, self-government, then everyone is type of on the similar stage of understanding of what we’re speaking about.”

Among the many audio system have been Sen. Brian Francis, the previous chief of Abegweit First Nation, who spoke about fishing rights within the Atlantic. P.E.I.’s poet laureate, Julie Pellissier-Lush, spoke about family tree and rediscovering lineage that was misplaced in the course of the Sixties Scoop and residential colleges. 

Bernard stated it is necessary the Mi’kmaq outline who has Mi’kmaw standing, and it should not matter whether or not they dwell on a reserve or off.

Nationhood ‘rebuilding’

It is all a part of the foundational work to take again management of choices that have an effect on the livelihood of First Nations, Bernard stated.

“That is work that is being finished all throughout the nation. So we’re all at completely different, various phases of this nationhood constructing — rebuilding, I ought to say, as a result of we all the time had governance fashions and issues like that that have been torn aside throughout colonization.”

The delegates mentioned what self-governance would possibly seem like in 10 or 20 years. Bernard stated it may embody making their very own legal guidelines to guard their traditions and tradition, having extra enter in funding agreements, and having a “seat on the desk” with different ranges of presidency.

“In 10 years time, we hope that we might have erased the colonial strains, these imaginary strains that divide us,” she stated.

“So there’s a whole lot of work forward. I really feel optimistic. I really feel proud. I really feel extraordinarily delighted that our folks got here out and had these conversations.”

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