Although the Supreme Court of Canda has clearly said that we have Rights, they have never clearly defined what these Rights are and how they will be implemented. As we know, our Treaties were signed a long time ago. The purpose of the Made-in-Nova Scotia Process is to determine what these Rights actually mean today and how the Mi’kmaq can use them.
When the Mi’kmaq Negotiation Team feels they have determined how a Right (for example, Mi’kmaq harvesting, access to lands, etc.) works best for the Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia and should be carried out, this issue will be taken to a vote. It’s important for every Nova Scotia Mi’kmaw to be able to cast a vote on the issue or agreement.
The Made-In-Nova Scotia Process is a process for the Mi’kmaq, by the Mi’kmaq. Every Mi’kmaq person has their own views of how our Rights should be protected and implemented. The Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs are designing a voting process for issues or agreements that will eventually come out of the Made-in-Nova Scotia Process. The outcomes will inform the Assembly on how the Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia want to proceed on negotiation-based issues.
It is important that the Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia are able to provide guidance and input on the design of this voting process. The term used to describe this type of voting process is “ratification”, however the Mi’kmaq term we’d prefer to use is Wel’te’tmɨkewey- which describes the process of coming to agreements.
Work on this process started in summer 2013. Since then we have gained feedback from many Mi’kmaq, including meeting with the Grand Council in Fall 2013, conducting community sessions and having information booths in 2014-2015, having an advisory committee composed of Mi’kmaq electoral officers and Grand Chief Sylliboy, and presenting to Chiefs and Council as the Nationhood Conference in March 2015. We continue to work on this process and ask for your continuous feedback and involvement.