Glossary of Terms

The Mi’kmaq Rights Initiative deals with a lot of legal terms. This glossary is designed to make it easier for you to understand all the issues. Please let us know if there is a term that you would like defined in the glossary.

Framework Agreement
The document that sets out the terms and procedures for negotiations, such as who will be involved, the goals and objectives, procedures, time frames and topics of discussion.

Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”)
An agreement stating the terms of how each side will cooperate and deal with each other over a particular subject matter. In the case of the “Made-in-Nova Scotia Process”, the MOU is intended to be an agreement that incorporates all decisions and solutions that have been developed throughout the negotiations. It is said to be an agreement-in-principle because it is not legally binding and still requires more details and particulars to be agreed upon. It would be the basis on which a legally binding Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia Accord would be developed.

Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia Accord
This will be the final agreement that outlines the solutions and decisions developed in the negotiations. It will define how we can implement our rights in practical ways, and will be the basis for carrying our relationship with Nova Scotia and Canada into the future for the seven generations to come.

Negotiation
Discussions intended to produce an agreement; the activity or business of negotiating an agreement; coming to terms. Usually, each side gains something through a negotiated agreement that they could not easily obtain otherwise.

Title
In our discussion, this means the Aboriginal title of the Mi’kmaq based on their original, long-standing and continuing use and occupation of land. It is a form of ownership of real property, but is not based on a land right or estate granted by the Crown. It is not the same as the land ownership system used when non-Aboriginals buy and sell land, which is done through deeds or other documents that can normally be traced back to a Crown grant. Mi’kmaq title preceded the arrival of the British and survived British claims to land and sovereignty over the territory.

Treaty
An Indian treaty is an exchange of promises between an Indian group and the Crown, done with a certain level of formality. It usually takes the form of a written, signed document, but can include oral agreements. Sometimes, as in the Mi’kmaq, Maliseet and Passamaquoddy treaties of 1760-61, it can include both written documents and oral representations by the British representatives.

Umbrella Agreement
The document signed in June 2002 that confirms that all three parties (Nova Scotia, Canada and the Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia) are willing to enter into discussions regarding the definition, recognition and implementation of Mi’kmaq rights, as well as the terms of reference for a consultation process.

Without prejudice
Clauses that ensure dealings are “off the record” and have no legal significance. They provide a safe house for the parties to deal with each other and protect Mi’kmaq rights and title during negotiations. This means that the discussions cannot be held against the Mi’kmaq or legally affect our rights.