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Elsipogtog First Nation


July 1, 2017

Elsipogtog First Nation is calling on Canada to fulfil its commitment to a renewed relationship with Indigenous peoples on the 150th anniversary of Confederation.

“July 1st is a reminder for Elsipogtog and other Indigenous communities across the country of the painful history that we all share,” said Elsipogtog Chief Arren Sock. “Colonialism hasn’t gone away. We are still dealing with the impacts of residential schools, missing and murdered Indigenous women and the destruction of our lands and waters. It is not time to celebrate yet.”

Elsipogtog is part of the Mi’kmaq Nation in eastern Canada. The Mi’kmaq used and cared for their traditional lands in Mi’kma’ki, including what is now known as New Brunswick, for thousands of years prior to the arrival of European settlers. 

“We have been here for a lot longer than 150 years, and we do not intend on going anywhere else,” said Chief Sock. “It’s long-past time for Canada to end its policy of denial. If we are going to achieve reconciliation then first we expect Canada to acknowledge its past and ongoing wrongs to our people, and to take immediate steps to recognize our rights and our relationship with the land.”

The Mi’kmaq, including ancestors of present-day members of Elsipogtog, signed treaties of peace and friendship with the British Crown in the 1760s. Canada does not recognize the continued existence of Mi’kmaq title, despite the fact that the treaties did not include the surrender of Mi’kmaq title to their lands.

In 2016 Elsipogtog filed a Statement of Claim against Canada and New Brunswick seeking the recognition that the Mi’kmaq continue to hold title and rights to lands in New Brunswick. The claim is currently before the courts. 

“We filed our claim because it is our responsibility under Mi’kmaq law to protect our lands for our future generations,” said Chief Sock. “We are committed to fulfilling this responsibility, including through the courts if necessary. It’s time for Canada to step up and fulfil its own commitment to a renewed Nation-to-Nation relationship with us based on recognition and respect for the Mi’kmaq Nation’s title to the lands and waters. Once that happens we can finally move towards reconciliation and celebration.”

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