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Mi'kmaq Confederacy News Releases
The following is distributed by the Mi'kmaq Confederacy of PEI
For Immediate Release
PEI Mi’kmaq Request Judicial Review of the sale of Mill River Crown Land
Charlottetown PEI, --- February 8, 2017
Today, the PEI Mi’kmaq – as represented by their Chiefs and Councils – have filed an Application for a Judicial Review of the sale of Mill River Crown Land with the Supreme Court of Prince Edward Island.
On January 12, 2017, the Government of Prince Edward Island announced the conveyance of over 325 acres of Provincial Crown Land to a private company despite the numerous objections of the PEI Mi’kmaq. The PEI Mi’kmaq Governments believe that a sale will impact negatively on the constitutionally protected Aboriginal and Treaty rights of the Mi’kmaq People.
In 2014, the Supreme Court of Canada released the Tsilhqot'in decision that related to Aboriginal title to land. The law clearly set out that in cases involving Aboriginal title the government, both federal and provincial, must obtain the consent of the Indigenous People prior to moving forward with a conveyance or activity over the subject lands.
In the case of the sale of the Mill River Crown Land, the Province has chosen to move forward without addressing any title issues asserted by the PEI Mi’kmaq, and has also wholly failed in its constitutional duty respecting meaningful consultation and accommodation.
The subject lands in the Mill River area are traditionally and culturally significant to the Mi’kmaq, thus the sale of such a large parcel of land without securing consent is unacceptable and inconsistent with the law. It is also inconsistent with the respectful relationship the Mi’kmaq have been trying to build with the Provincial Government.
“This is not a step that we wanted to take”, said Abegweit First Nation Chief Brian Francis. “We wanted to enter into meaningful negotiations with the Province so that we could address issues in good faith, and requested this time and time again. But the Province refused to deal with us in a cooperative spirit and secretly moved ahead with the deal despite our repeated objections. In order to protect the rights and interests of the Indigenous Mi’kmaq, we had no choice but to litigate.”
“While we are extremely disappointed at the lack of respect shown to us, we believe that this will be a significant day for the Mi’kmaq of PEI, a day that we stood up for our rights and our people” said Chief Matilda Ramjattan. “It is our hope that future generations will look back at this day with pride and empowerment.”
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For more information: Don MacKenzie, 902-626-2882, firstname.lastname@example.org
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