Creating a Reality by Sharing a Common Vision
The restoration of Mi’kmaw Nationhood is becoming a reality in Nova Scotia. During the Chief and Council Nationhood Conference held at the World Trade and Convention Center in Halifax on March 30, 31, 2010, the Mi’kmaq Political leadership passed a Resolution to develop a Political Accord on Mi’kmaq Governance. The Political Accord on Mi’kmaq Governance represents the next step in the journey towards Mi’kmaw Nationhood in Nova Scotia.
“The Political Accord on Mi’kmaq Governance exists as a commitment by the Mi’kmaq political leadership to develop a united governance structure for the Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia. It will allow the Mi’kmaq to take custody of our rights through the development of our own laws and institutions of Mi’kmaq governance” said Janice Maloney, Executive Director of the Kwilmu’kw Maw-klusuaqn Negotiation Office (KMKNO).
Conference participants included the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs (ANSMC, Councils, Mi’kmaw Grand Council and Mi’kmaq organizational leaders. Assembly presentations focused on four “core values” of Mi’kmaq Nationhood which includes: respect, heart, truth and trust. Past accomplishments and future challenges of the Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia was also discussed.
“Mi’kmaq Nationhood is like building a home that serves our needs and not government’s…The foundation for our Nationhood must be grounded in respect, for without it, we can never be united… We must assert our Nationhood. We must lead!” said Chief Gerard Julian, Co-Chair of the ANSMC.
Throughout the two day conference participants reviewed and discussed a draft Assembly Resolution that focused on three areas. It involved gaining approval: to develop a Political Accord on Mi’kmaq Governance, to build a Mi’kmaq government building and to change the Assembly’s Constitution to address emerging nationhood issues.
“Governance is a journey that never ends. It is the mechanism and manner in which we decide to take care of ourselves…When we begin to connect as Mi’kmaq, our hearts become our Nation’s spirit” said Chief Deborah Robinson, Chair of the Governance Planning Committee.
The Assembly Resolution was unanimously passed with two additions. These focused on the need to follow an “inclusive” approach in the developing a “contemporary” model of Mi’kmaq governance in Nova Scotia.
“We possess an inherent right for self-government on our traditional lands…Nationhood is like a flame that must be carried throughout our Nation. It must, like the Olympic torch, be considered a flame of hope” said Chief Terrance Paul, Co-Chair of ANSMC.
The Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia Nationhood Proclamation was proclaimed on Treaty Day, 2008. It proclaimed and asserted Mi’kmaq Nationhood over our traditional lands and waters. The Political Accord on Mi’kmaq Governance will build on the Proclamation’s momentum and provide substance and meaning to our Nationhood.
“In many Aboriginal Nations the sacred pipe exists as an important symbol for the establishment of trust…When a relationship of trust emerges, great things can happen…Our greatest ideas and accomplishments are ones that are born out of the Mi’kmaq imagination…”said Chief Morley Googoo, Co-Chair of the Governance Planning Committee.
The Assembly Resolution represents a firm mandate to begin discussions and develop options on a united governance structure for the Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia. These options will be further discussed at future Nationhood conferences.
“When Mi’kmaq values and traditions inspire a common vision on Mi’kmaq leadership – great things happen. When we develop our own values of respect, heart, truth and trust, our dream of Mi’kmaq Nationhood becomes our Nation’s dream” said Viola Robinson, KMKNO Senior Advisor.
The ANSMC encourages all Mi’kmaq people, Councils, groups and organizations to become actively involved in this historic undertaking. Re-establishing Mi’kmaq Nationhood represents our Nation’s biggest challenge. It will take the efforts of many Mi’kmaq to turn this vision into a reality.
“Throughout the years the Mi’kmaq have overcome challenges and achieved many accomplishments. These are our Nation’s accomplishments. Our Nationhood is like a foretold journey. Our values, customs and traditions allow us to chart a course towards a shared destiny of independence and wellbeing,” said Joe B Marshall, KMKNO Senior Advisor.