Much progress has been made so far in our Gespe’gewa’gi claims process and negotiations. This section outlines the accomplishments to date.
Since 2007, two important documents have been developed by the Mi’gmawei Mawiomi. Both of these have been recognized by the other parties, Canada and Québec:
- In 2007, the Mi’gmawei Mawiomi submitted its Statement of Claim, Nm’tginen.
- In 2008, the Niganita’suatas’gl Ilsutagan (NI), was agreed to by the three parties.
WHERE ARE WE IN THE NEGOTIATIONS?
According to Canada’s policies, six stages must be completed in a Comprehensive Land Claims Process. For 2011, the goal of the Mgnigng – the official tripartite negotiating team – is to agree to a Framework Agreement (FA).
- A Framework Agreement outlines areas that will be discussed during the actual negotiations.
- Developing a Framework Agreement is part of Stage Three of the claims process.
Click here for more details from the Government of Canada about the six stages of the claims process.
Click here to read about our progress with respect to accomplishing the six stages for our Gespe’gewa/gi claims process.
WORKING TOWARD A FRAMEWORK AGREEMENT
Described below are our accomplishments toward the development of a Framework Agreement, which is the goal for this stage of the Gespe’gewa’gi claims process and negotiations.
- Establishment of a Principle-based Approach to Future Talks
To establish a relationship of reconciliation and co-existence with the governments of Canada and Québec, the Mi’gmaq representatives of the Mgnigng advocated for a principle-based approach for talks and discussions among the three parties.
The principle-based approach is based on the concept of megite’taqann. Megite’taqann, translated means “what we hold in high esteem, what we honour.”
The hope is that talks based on Megite’taqann will create results that respect our Mi’gmaq worldview, values, culture, traditions and spirituality. At the same time, it will get the job done to the satisfaction of all three parties.
In practical terms, by using a principle-based approach, we ensure that Mi’gmaq values, beliefs and traditions remain central to our discussions with Canada and Québec.
Rather than following past Eurocentric negotiating principles, we want to ensure that talks are in fact taking place on a nation-to-nation level. Megite’taqann will guide the talks, agreements and discussions that will lead to a successful Framework Agreement (FA) in the near future.
- Nutewistoq Named
A Nutewistoq (“Speaker”) was named. The role of this person is to oversee and manage the negotiations work as mandated by the Mi’gmawei Mawiomi. The Nutewistoq leads our efforts by coordinating all of our activities related to the Gespe’gewa’gi claims process and negotiations
- Research Report was Released about Mi’gmaq Treaties
During early negotiations, the Government of Québec questioned whether the Gespe’gewa’gi Mi’gmaq participated in the Peace and Friendship treaties signed with the Crown.
In order to challenge this notion, the MI’gmaq Mgnigng reviewed treaty materials housed at the Mi’gmawei Mawiomi Secretariat. A report was commissioned about Mi’gmaq angugamgewe’l (“treaties”). This treaty report, submitted in May 2009 to the Governments of Canada and Québec, confirms our participation in the Peace and Friendship treaties.
The treaties of Peace and Friendship were signed with the British in the eighteenth century (1725-1779). These agreements established a historic nation-to-nation relationship between the Mi’gmaq and the Crown, and they included the Mi’gmaq of Gespe’gewa’gi.
- Mi’gmaq was Declared the Official Language of Gespe’gewa’gi
True nation-to-nation talks could not take place without the acknowledgement from the other parties, Canada and Québec, that the Mi’gmaq people, as members of our own nation, have an inherent right to speak, use and learn Mi’gmaq, the first and original language of our territory.
In January of 2009, the Mi’gmaq Mgnigng developed a declaration respecting the Mi’gmaq language. Mi’gmaw na Gepminsituninen ula Gespe’gewa’gig is a political statement promoting Mi’gmaq as the official language of Gespe’gewa’gi.
The main purpose of the declaration is to provide stakeholders with a legislative tool that protects and revitalizes our language as a part of our inherent right to self-determination.
The Gespe’gewa’gi claims process and negotiations are moving forward. Accomplishments to date? Establishing a principle-based approach based on what we honour and value as Mi’gmaq; releasing a report stating that the treaties of Peace and Friendship are indeed applicable to the Gespe’gewa’gi Mi’gmaq; and, finally, declaring Mi’gmaq as the official language of Gespe’gewa’gi. These accomplishments help to build a claim in a “Mi’gmaq way.”
The claim has moved ahead because of the guidance from the leadership of the Mi’gmawei Mawiomi and the hard work on everyone’s part.
As we finalize the draft Niganiljoga’tagan (Framework Agreement), which is the goal for the current stage of the Gespe’gewa’gi claims process, we aim to work carefully and thoughtfully, keeping in mind what we, as Mi’gmaq, “honour and hold in esteem.’”
Read the treaty report