October 20, 2020
Members of the Mount Allison community,
In recent weeks, we have witnessed an escalating dispute between commercial fishers and Mi’kmaq fishers over rights to access and fish in the waters off the Nova Scotia coast. In recent days, the discord has intensified. It is troubling to see yet another conflict that pits non-Indigenous and Indigenous people against one another. More disturbing still is the eruption of anti-Indigenous sentiment in this dispute.
As a university committed to reconciliation, we are mindful that we are situated in the greater territory of Mi’kma’ki — the ancestral lands of the Mi’kmaw People. We acknowledge and encourage our community to honour the Indigenous principles of seeing, doing, knowing, and relating in our work. As an institution of higher education, we are committed to fostering an inclusive dialogue on all matters affecting our communities and the world around us.
In a diverse country with diverse histories, traditions, and connections, disagreements occur. However, such disagreements must be resolved through dialogue — never through intimidation or force. Notwithstanding the complexity of the situation in Saulnierville, violence and intimidation are inexcusable, as they will serve only to deepen the divide, making meaningful discourse and resolution more difficult.
I encourage faculty to continue to speak with their students and staff and with their colleagues to encourage reconciliation. A number of Mount Allison students, many of whom are involved with the Indigenous Students Support Group, are setting up donation boxes across campus. The hope is to collect non-perishable healthy snacks, items of warm clothing, flashlights, and batteries that will be donated to assist Mi’kmaq fishers and their supporters in Saulnierville. I commend our students’ efforts and ask community members to help fill the donation boxes. Those who wish to support these efforts with a monetary donation can reach out to Indigenous Affairs Co-ordinator Patty Musgrave-Quinn at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
President & Vice-Chancellor
Mount Allison University