Words From Nutewistoq:
I welcome all citizens to participate in reading about us, our vision and our purpose for the Mi’gmaq. What I would like to accomplish as a negotiator is that we have agreements for a prosperous livelihood for all the members, an agreement for commercial fisheries, an agreement for Ceremonial and Food Fisheries, National Parks and that we start seeing ourselves as having the responsibility to govern and manage our resources, not just be bystanders to Federal and Provincial governments. Ultimately, my goal is for the three communities to have their own governance, administration and management over the resources of Gespe’gewa’gi. We could make laws and manage this resource as part of our Inherent Rights as well as protect it, be stewards over the land. If I’m able to accomplish that, to me I’ll be successful and so will the communities.
In 2007, the Mi’gmaq of Gesgapegiag, Gespeg and Listuguj deposited the Nm’tginen, the Mi’gmaq Statement of Claim to our traditional territory of Gespe’gewa’gi, the Seventh District within Mi’gmaqi; where we officially notified both the Federal and Provincial Governments that we have unceded rights to live and make a prosperous living on the territory.
These governments continue to this day to ignore our Rights and Title to Gespe’gewa’gi which are protected under section 35 of the Constitution Act. Based on our inherent right and Supreme court decisions reaffirming them, we demand the governments to act fairly and justly when it comes to reconciling and recognizing our Rights and Title to Gespe’gewa’gi. We urge be consulted on all development that would have an impact on our resources, our Rights and Title.
Since that time, two other documents have been developed: The Niganita’suatas’glllsutaqann (NI) the Thinking Before the Decision and the Niganiljoga’tagan, Framework Agreement.
Canada must act honourably in its dealings with Mi’gmaq people in order to achieve true reconciliation of Rights and Title to the land and its resources. The position of the of the Mi’gmawei Mawiomi (MM) is that reconciliation among the parties must be based on a Nation- to-Nation relationship.
From Canadian legislations, court cases to international protection: these have all influenced and shaped the environment for discussions about Indigenous Rights and Title. Furthermore, as stated in the Nm’tginen: Me’menaq Ejiglignmuetueg gis na Naqtmueg , our statement of claim document, we, the Mi’gmaq of Gespe’gewa’gi, have pre-existing rights and title to Gespe’gewa’gi.
We aim to advance our talks with the Government in the spirit of peace and friendship and to assert our rights and title to the territory.
Negotiating Settlements Include:
Mi’gmaq ownership of land
Protection of traditional ways of life
Access to resource development opportunities
Participation in land and resources management decision-making
Certainty with respect to Mi’gmaq land rights
Self-government rights and political recognition