Treaty Day: Justice and Respect
October 1, 2016
Today is Treaty Day. It’s a moment to recognize the centrality of the Peace and Friendship treaties in the life of the unceded Mi’kmaq territory that is Nova Scotia, and for us as New Democrats to re-dedicate ourselves to the ongoing struggle against colonial injustice.
Treaties are the agreements which established, about 250 years ago, a relationship of nation-to-nation reciprocity between the Mi’kmaq people and the British Empire. They included limited British settlement, parameters for the trading of goods, and the promise of continued Mi’kmaq access to land and water.
The betrayal of trust that followed the signing of these treaties has become part of our collective story–a story of colonization, resistance, and yes, cultural genocide. It is a story etched in the consciousness of residential school survivors, their families and their communities. It is part of who we all are, and a narrative we must reconcile through dialogue and action.
In the NDP we honour the spirit of the treaties by advancing an agenda of solidarity with Indigenous peoples. This fall, we will be introducing legislation that would ensure the implementation of the provincially-related Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action in Nova Scotia. And we will continue to stand alongside the Millbrook and Sipekne’katik First Nations as they demand a fair and complete consultation process with respect to Alton Gas.
This Monday, on behalf of our Party and caucus, we will be proud to attend the Treaty Day flag-raising ceremony at Government House. May it mark the beginning of a new chapter in our shared story–one based on the principles of justice and respect.
Gary Burrill, Leader, Nova Scotia NDP
Lenore Zann, MLA, Truro-Bible Hill-Millbrook-Salmon River; NDP Critic for Aboriginal Affairs / Truth and Reconciliation Commission