Learning Lodge on Mi’kmaw Livelihood to take place at StFX on Nov. 24 

A Learning Lodge on Mi’kmaw Livelihood will bring a number of high-profile speakers to StFX on Tuesday, Nov. 24 at 7 p.m. for a panel discussion on Mi’kmaw fisheries and livelihood rights.

Panelists include Jaime Battiste, Member of Parliament, Sydney-Victoria; Senator Mary Coyle; Regional Chief PJ Prosper; Dr. Megan Bailey, Marine Affairs Program, Dalhousie University; and Elder Kerry Prosper.

A recording of the event can be found HERE 

“It’s an important event,” says Dr. David Garbary, coordinator of StFX’s Aquatic Resources Program. “It’s a real opportunity to educate the public on what are fundamental rights of First Nations in Canada.” 

Dr. Garbary says the idea for the event was generated from the Aquatic Resources program.

“This is a really important social issue that I believed our program should get behind and promote within the larger community of Nova Scotia. We thought it was important that StFX sponsor the event,” he says, noting that the idea came together as a joint effort.

“The aquatic resources program itself focuses on the social, scientific and economic issues associated with water, and StFX’s Dr. Jane McMillan, a former eel fisher who was directly involved in the Marshall decision, is a legal anthropologist who does community engaged research specializing in social justice, Indigenous law and treaty rights implementation. Students in the anthropology department’s Mi’kmaw studies stream embraced the opportunity to host another collaborative learning lodge. All of these themes come together in this panel discussion.”

Dr. Garbary says the event is not a debate. “It’s a matter of public education to provide a better understanding of Indigenous fishing rights in the context of a moderate livelihood.”

The panelists will address the issue of Mi’kmaw Livelihood from a variety of perspectives. Each panelist will speak for 15 minutes on their background, and use this to reflect on the current social issue. Panelists will speak to this issue from a range of personal perspectives, emphasizing the rights of First Nations to earn a moderate livelihood in the fishery. Opportunities for questions will follow. 

Dr. Garbary approached several people, including StFX Academic Vice-President Dr. Kevin Wamsley and Central Nova MP Sean Fraser to see if they thought a panel discussion was a good idea. “They all thought it was an excellent opportunity for community education.”

The event is sponsored by StFX Aquatic Resources Program, in conjunction with Dr. Jane McMillan, provided the primary impetus, with planning and support from the Office of Indigenous Student Affairs & Mi'kmaw Studies. Sponsors of the Learning Lodge include the Departments of Anthropology, Biology, Political Science, Economics, Sociology, Public Policy and Governance, Mathematics/Statistics, and Earth Sciences, the Brian Mulroney Institute of Government, the John T. Sears Chair in Corporate Social Responsibility, StFX Academic Vice-President, the Dean of Arts, and the Dean of Science. 

Dr. McMillan and Dr. Garbary will serve as moderators.