Forming an Organized Community Voice
Our larger population of direct descendant Mi’kmaq People in Nova Scotia continuing to live throughout our traditional ancestral homelands, endure the government stereotyping of Indians as: “Non-status”, “off-reserve status Indian”, “not registered”, and many other labels. The results of exclusion and subjugating policies have created disadvantage, social and economic prejudice, stereotype and political vulnerability with horrendous effects and impacts on our persons, families and community. Our Community of Mi’kmaq/Aboriginal Peoples remain the most marginalized peoples in Nova Scotia, subjected to the greatest share of institutional discrimination, want of necessaries, for no other reason than our continuum as Mi’kmaq People residing on our traditional ancestral homelands outside of the Indian Act reserves.
By the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, the larger populations of Aboriginal Peoples living “off Indian Act reserves” were too visible to the rest of society, as was our very marginalized social reality, economic condition and political situation.
In Nova Scotia, our province wide community of direct descendant Mi’kmaq/Aboriginal Peoples, heirs and beneficiaries of relationships and contacts, our long history, our continuum, our world view, our knowledge, our practices, and our rights as a People – the First Indigenous Peoples on our traditional ancestral homelands, resolved that our families and our future generations of children would “go forward to a better future”.
Our Community living throughout our traditional ancestral homelands not displaced to Indian Act reserves, resolved to no longer endure the assault on our human dignity. The physical and psychological oppression, the demeaning of our identity, capacity and worth needed to end. We resolved to end the social and economic disadvantage, the stereotype, the prejudice and the exclusion. We would not allow ourselves to remain vulnerable, silent or politically inactive.
We determined not to live in fear of want. We would continue to resist relocation to Indian Act reserves. We would not give up nor abandon our access to our resources on our ancestral territories; lands, seas, air, waters and natural life on Mi’kma’ki. We would not be denied our birth right identity as a Mi’kmaq. Our capacity and competency as Mi’kmaq and our continuum as a People of thousands of years, would not be subjugated to the direct rule, control and wardship of a government Minister of an Indian Department. We would not be treated as if we were a vanquished people or some artifact of the past.
Our Community of Mi’kmaq/Aboriginal Peoples resolved to freely organize ourselves to advocate for change. We would choose our leaders and recognize and continue to respect our traditional form of governance – the Mi’kmaq Grand Council. We would speak with a united community voice. We would be heard in the councils of government in Canada. We would be recognized in the Constitution of Canada as one of the Aboriginal Peoples of Canada in the Federation of the Peoples of Canada. We would work to bring about a better understanding to all Canadians about the reality, history, significance and continuum of the Aboriginal Peoples of “Ka na da” (Canada).
We continue our heritage, world view, distinctive culture, our language, our history and our birth right as a People. We continue our relationship and bond to our traditional ancestral homelands.
In February of 1974, Mi’kmaq women and men that government labelled as “Metis”, “non-status Indians”, “off-reserve Indians”, “enfranchised Indians”, “non registered Indians” and many other stereotype labels, gathered in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, where we in council determined to establish an organized Community voice. We would advocate and lobby for change as one voice – a voice to the Councils of Government.
We would work and help our Community to improve their social, educational, and economic situation and conditions organized as one voice. Our Community of Mi’kmaq/Aboriginal People continuing on our traditional ancestral homelands would work to realize a goal for our people, our children and our future
generations, to continue organized as we go forward to a better future.