The Native Council of Prince Edward Island
For Immediate Release
October 3rd, 2014
The Native Council of Prince Edward Island calls on Provincial and Federal Government to recognize the Peace and Friendship Treaty of 1752, citing that understandings are not inclusive.
Charlottetown, PEI – President and Chief, Jamie Thomas of the Native Council of Prince Edward Island, after returning from the Treaty Day Ceremonies in Halifax Nova Scotia is seeking inclusion and recognition for non-status and off reserve Aboriginal Peoples in Prince Edward Island.
" The Nova Scotia Government recognizes the importance of Mi'kmaq Treaty Day, it's time to call upon our Government to do the same. Such recognition could only strengthen the cherished relationship between the Provincial Crown and off reserve status, non-status and Aboriginal residents of Prince Edward Island." Explains Mrs. Thomas.
Treaty Day is a time for gathering, reflection and celebration for Mi'kmaw people and Canadians alike. The first Treaty Day was declared and set to be celebrated one year after the Supreme Court of Canada upheld the Peace Treaty of 1752 during a ruling in 1985, it was originally signed by Jean-Baptiste Cope and Governor Peregrine Hopson. This special day would honour the original intentions and recognitions of the cooperative relationship between the Mi'kmaq people and the Crown.
" We are seeking the same recognition and rights, to be enjoyed by the First Nations people of Prince Edward Island, as the Treaty of 1752 guaranteed to our forefathers. Currently, we have no funded or sponsored advocacy collective to represent our Aboriginal off-reserve membership. Our voices are not heard in governmental, educational, financial and environmental negotiations and round table discussions. There are other entities out there, here and on the mainland, that are funded to speak on behalf of First Nations people and to represent them in consultations but these entities exclude off reserve Aboriginal peoples. " States Mrs. Thomas.
" In representing the off-reserve status, non-status and Métis persons of all Aboriginal ancestry living on Prince Edward Island, I call on all levels of government for fair and inclusive representation of all Aboriginal people during consultations, starting with a Provincial Government recognition of Treaty Day. Our Ancestors fought for these treaties and for fair representation with the Crown, those Ancestors include mine and many of the Native Council of Prince Edward Island ancestral descendants who are now in our membership." further explains President and Chief Jamie Thomas.
The Mi'kmaq Grand Council plays an important role in the recognition of Treaties. These Treaties, including the Peace and Friendship Treaty of 1752, that were signed by the Mi'kmaq Grand Council, to represent the Mi'kmaw people. The Mi'kmaq Grand Council, known in Mi'kmaw as the Sante' Mawi'omi, is the traditional authority for the Territory known as Mi'kma'ki, encompassing 7 maritime districts for over five centuries.
" Treaty day was great this year. However I really believe that it has to be more inclusive of all the Mi’kmaq people of Mi’kma’ki, and not just Nova Scotia. We have to ensure that it does not become a made in Nova Scotia event. Having said that, the Off –Reserve, Mi’kmaq People’s organizations like the Native Council of PEI, and the Aboriginal Congress of New Brunswick, as well as the Native Council of Nova Scotia should also be invited to play a role in this important event, as well as helping to fund the event. All Mi’kmaq people are beneficiaries of the Treaties not just those who live on Reserves." Explains Keptin John Joe Sark of the Mi'kmaq Grand Council.
Recognition of the Treaties and respect, thereof is vital to the preservation of the Mi'kmaq culture. These agreements paved the way for progress in North America and were intended to protect the Mi'kmaq way of life. Celebrating and honouring these Treaties is part of our Canadian heritage, for all Canadians. The Native Council of Prince Edward Island eagerly seeks a response from the Province of Prince Edward Island in discussing this recognition to increase awareness and understanding for all Islanders.
Director of Communications
Native Council of Prince Edward Island,
The Native Council of Prince Edward Island represents off-reserve status, non-status and Métis persons of all Nations living on Prince Edward Island.
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