Rights and Reconciliation Agreements (RRA)
Over the years, much progress has been made at the Mi’gmaq of Quebec negotiations table: signing the NI Agreement, Framework Agreement, and Consultation Agreement.
However, there continued to be a federal policy gap in how best to implement and reconcile the Mi’gmaq treaty right to hunt, fish, gather and trade in pursuit of a “moderate livelihood” based on the 1760-61 Peace and Friendship Treaties affirmed in the Marshall decision.
To respond to this policy gap, in April 2017, Canada obtained a mandate to negotiate Rights Reconciliation Agreements.
Rights Reconciliation Agreements are meant to respond to the unique rights and interests of First Nations.
The concept of Rights Reconciliation Agreements was jointly developed at Recognition of Indigenous Rights and Self-Determination discussions in Nova Scotia and discussed at the negotiation tables across the Atlantic and Gaspésie. Minister Bennett’s mandate letter specifically references Recognition of Indigenous Rights and Self-Determination discussions.
This mandate also aligns with the Prime Minister’s announcement on February 14, 2018, of a Recognition and Implementation of Rights Framework to ensure the Government of Canada respects constitutionally-protected Indigenous rights and provides policies and mechanisms for Indigenous peoples to exercise their rights.
Rights and Recognition Agreement is not a treaty, but a time limited agreement on how we will exercise our rights on our territory.
Rights Reconciliation Agreements are time-limited, legally binding agreements that recognize the historic treaty rights of the Mi’gmaq, confirmed by the Supreme Court of Canada, as well as advance self-determination.
Negotiations are currently addressing the treaty rights and interests of the Mi’gmaq, which includes fishing rights.
Negotiations continue to move forward with addressing Mi’gmaq communities’ treaty rights, including their right to fish for the purpose of earning a ‘moderate livelihood’, and to ensure a stable and prosperous fishery for the benefit of all Mi’gmaq.
Fisheries have traditionally been a vital component in the diet and economies of the Mi’gmaq people. Initially, the Mi’gmaq people sold fish to Europeans but this practice was outlawed before the turn of the century when a commercial licence was required to catch fish for sale.
The 1999 Marshall Decision has played a major role in the development of Mi’gmaq rights and freedoms with regards to the advancement of fisheries governance.
To conduct a dialogue on fisheries governance with Canada in the spirit of peace and friendship and the Covenant Chain of Treaties that is consistent with our Mi’gmaq culture, traditions, and principles as given to us by the Creator.
To identify the building blocks of fisheries governance that will pave the way to re-establish the Mi’gmaq Nation’s jurisdiction and leadership over fisheries in Gespe’gewa’gi.
To ensure that the families of the Mi’gmaq Nation have an opportunity to live a balanced, harmonious life.