On Thursday, October 27, 2011, the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs (Assembly) appointed Viola Robinson, O.N.S., LL.B., LL.D., as the Lead Negotiator for the Kwilmu’kw Maw-klusuaqn Negotiations Office (KMKNO).
Mrs. Robinson, from Acadia First Nation, has worked with KMKNO contributing to the development of the Made-In-Nova Scotia Process, a forum for negotiating treaty rights and governance with representatives from the Mi’kmaw community and the federal and provincial governments. Mrs. Robinson is a trusted an inspiring leader who has worked since the 1970’s to end discrimination against the Mi’kmaw people and advocated for the rights of Aboriginal women. Having received an honorary Doctorate of Laws from Dalhousie University, she went on to study law, graduating with a law degree in 1998. Mrs. Robinson received the Order of Nova Scotia in 2009 and is a recipient of the 2011Order of Canada, recognizing her work towards social justice and Mi’kmaq rights.
“It is an honour to be appointed by the Assembly as the Lead Negotiator,” said Viola Robinson, “Together, with KMKNO and the Assembly we can continue to strive for the betterment of the Mi’kmaq nation.”
The Assembly’s decision to appoint Viola Robinson acknowledges the wealth of knowledge and capabilities that Viola brings to the Lead Negotiator position. Mrs. Robinson will be replacing Bruce Wildsmith, who has taken on the role as legal counsel for the Assembly.
Bruce Wildsmith is a lawyer and a retired Professor of Law from Dalhousie University. His first involvement representing Mi’kmaq was in 1974 in the Stephen Isaac case, establishing the right of Mi’kmaq to hunt on reserve land free of provincial hunting regulations. Mr. Wildsmith’s continued involvement as the Assembly’s Legal Counsel will provide essential services and support to both the Assembly and the negotiation process.
Kwilmu’kw Maw-klusuaqn Negotiations Office/Mi’kmaq Rights Initiative works on behalf of the Assembly in the negotiations and consultations between the Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia, the Province of Nova Scotia and the Government of Canada. KMKNO was developed by the Mi’kmaq, for the Mi’kmaq. The purpose of these negotiations and consultations is to implement our Aboriginal and treaty rights from the treaties signed by our ancestors in the 1700’s.
KMKNO wishes to thank Mr. Wildsmith for his dedication and hard work as the Lead Negotiator on the negotiation process. Congratulations to Viola, Bruce and the re-elected Co-Chairs, Chief Terrance Paul and Chief Gerard Julian on their appointments sanctioned by the Assembly.