Nm’tginen : Statement Of Claim

The claim map is a necessary component of the Gespe’gewa’gi claims process because it shows the territory that we have occupied and used continuously for centuries.

The claim map shows the “primary claim” area of the proposed Gespe’gewa’gi claim. It is vital that we support our claim with this proof because the governments of Canada and Québec require documentation of our use and occupancy of our territory. It is presented without prejudice to the rights of the Mi’gmaq to assert further or other claims.  The map does not describe other areas over which the Mi’gmaq have Aboriginal and Treaty Rights.

The Spirit of the Claim

Our statement of claim recognizes the idea of Nm’tginen: Me’mnaq ejiglignmuetueg gis na naqtmueg, which means “Our territory: We have never given it away or left it.” This, along with our Mi’gmaq principles, is the guiding spirit of our claim.

The following seven principles constitute the foundation of Mi’gmaq governance. We hold them sacred. They form the Spirit and Intent of our Gespe’gewa’gi Claims process:

1) Gepmite’taqan – Respect

Our Statement of Claim recognizes and upholds mutual respect among our people and among the two other parties involved in the claim.

2) Ta’n telmi’watmg goqwei – Giving thanks

Our Statement of Claim describes our gratitude to the Creator for giving us the resources, our territory and each other.

3) Ta’n telmi’waltultimg – Honour

Our Statement of Claim honours and appreciates our Elders, Chiefs and other officials, including those representing the other parties, who are working thoughtfully and tirelessly on behalf of all our members to achieve our claim.

4) Ta’n telwo’gmawtultimg – We are all Related

Our Statement of Claim shows how we intend to include all the Mi’gmaq people living in the territory so that they, our relatives, receive the many benefits that will result from our successful claim.

5) Ta’n telitpi’taqati’gw – Sharing

Our Statement of Claim makes it clear that we all have responsibility for managing our resources and that we intend to equally share the resources themselves, based on our own Mi’gmaq governance system.

6) Ta’n telmawilsutaqati’gw – Responsibility

Our Statement of Claim describes how we intend to assign mutual responsibility to all our people for the management of our territory.

7) Ta’n telgegnu’mimajultimg – Protocols and Ceremonies

Our Statement of Claim goes into detail about the importance of retaining our ceremonies as unique symbols of our way of life.

 

Current Status of the Claim

The Gespe’gewa’gi claims process and negotiations are moving forward.  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.

According to Canada’s policies, six stages must be completed in a Comprehensive Land Claims Process. CLICK HERE (NEED LINK) for more details from the Government of Canada about the six stages of the claims process.

DOCUMENTS PRODUCED

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.

What is the NI Agreement?

NIGANITA’SUATAS’GL ILSUTAGAN (NI)

Agreement Among the Mi’gmaq, Canada, and Québec

Over the years, the leadership of the Mi’gmawei Mawiomi has encouraged the principle that decisions should not be made hastily or without due deliberation. Much thought must be given before decisions are reached.  This Mi’gmaq philosophy was turned into a legal document, entitled Niganita’suatas’gl Ilsutagan (NI) (“The thinking before the decision”), which was signed by representatives of the Gespe’gewa’gi Mi’gmaq, Canada and Québec on September 25, 2008.  This document, and the discussions that led to its creation, established a solid foundation for negotiations based on Mi’gmaq values, beliefs, and traditions.  The NI is an agreement that states that the three signing parties have agreed to work together on the pre-negotiations of the Gespe’gewa’gi claims process and further negotiations.

Types Of Claim

In general, there are two types of Aboriginal claims in Canada that are commonly referred to as “land claims” – Comprehensive claims and Specific claims. Comprehensive claims always involve land, but specific claims are not necessarily always land-related.
COMPREHENSIVE CLAIMS

Comprehensive Claims arise and are negotiated in areas of the country, such as Gespe’gewa’gi, where Aboriginal rights and title have not been previously addressed by treaty or through other legal means (such as court cases).
SPECIFIC CLAIMS
Specific Claims deal with past grievances of First Nations related to Canada’s obligations under historic treaties, or the way it managed First Nations’ funds or other assets.
With the 2007 filing of the Nm’tginen, the Gespe’gewa’gi Mi’gmaq began the process of initiating a Comprehensive claim process based on our constitutionally protected rights. This claim is a continuance of the peace and friendship treaties we signed long ago with the
Crown.

Rights And Titles (Links to Publications)

As Mi’gmaq, we know that we have Aboriginal Rights and Title to our territory. Here, we will look at the legal basis for the assertion of our rights and title to our territory.

 

LEARN MORE

Read the text of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Read Section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, about Aboriginal rights

Read the 1995 Policy Statement of the Government of Canada about Aboriginal Self-government

Read our statement of claim, Nm’tginen, in your choice of Mi’gmaq, English, or French
Legal References:

Delgamuukw

  1. v. Marshall and and R. v. Bernard

Link to a list of many human and Aboriginal rights sites in international law