By: Crystal Dorey, KMKNO Communications Officer
In March 2013, a number of community members grew concerned about the Made-In-Nova Scotia Process and the work of Kwilmu’kw Maw-klusuaqn Negotiations Office (KMKNO). Due to these concerns, and as follow up to an agreement signed between the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs and Idle No More, KMKNO began a series of community information sessions.
The information sessions started on March 18th in Membertou where the KMKNO team, including Viola Robinson, Lead Negotiator; Joe B Marshall, Senior Mi’kmaq Advisor; Eric Zscheile, Associate Negotiator; Janice Maloney, Executive Director; Twila Gaudet, Consultation Liaison Officer and other staff members, made presentations on the negotiation process, KMKNO organizational structure, the Umbrella Agreement, Framework Agreement (Made-In-Nova Scotia Process, and the Consultation Terms of Reference. Sessions were held in each community, concluding in Bear River on June 19th.
Many questions were asked, and great discussions happened between community members and the KMKNO team. The overwhelming feeling in each community was that people wanted to be better informed, asking that communications from the Assembly and KMKNO be increased. KMKNO continues to be committed to informing community members on the work that we do and has dedicated special attention to enhancing our existing methods/tools used for communications. Community involvement has always been, and continues to be, a critical component of the Made-In-Nova Scotia Process.
A full report of the sessions is currently being developed and will be presented to the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs at their next meeting in September and released to the public shortly thereafter. We are committed to providing community members with a report that accurately reflects the discussions that have come out of each community also, what we plan to do next and how we plan to strengthen our communications. The priority of KMKNO is to ensuring that the Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia are not only informed but are heard throughout this process.
Kwilmu’kw Maw-klusuaqn Negotiation Office works on behalf of the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs and the Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia to ensure the claims for Aboriginal Rights and Title are recognized. KMKNO was developed by the Mi’kmaq for the Mi’kmaq. The purpose of the negotiation and consultation process is to implement our Aboriginal and Treaty rights from the Treaties signed by our ancestors in the 1700’s.