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Fishing in Contested Waters

Fishing in Contested Waters: Place & Community in Burnt Church/Esgenoopetitj

Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 224
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  • Book Info
    Fishing in Contested Waters
    Book Description:

    Fishing in Contested Watersdemonstrates the deep roots of contemporary conflicts over rights, sovereignty, conservation, and identity.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8993-0
    Subjects: Environmental Science, Philosophy, Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-vii)
  3. List of Figures
    (pp. viii-viii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Preface
    (pp. xi-2)
  6. 1 Introduction: Re-membering Burnt Church
    (pp. 3-26)

    In November 1998, the Supreme Court of Canada heard an appeal in the case of Donald Marshall Jr. Marshall, a Mi’kmaw man from Nova Scotia, was charged under federal fishery regulations with fishing and selling eels illegally.¹ Marshall admitted that he had been fishing eels, and argued that the Mi’kmaq held the right to fish according to the peace and friendship treaties they signed with the British in 1760–1. Therefore, he argued, the regulations of the Canadian government did not apply to Mi’kmaw fishers.

    In a decision handed down on 17 September 1999, the court recognized Marshall’s treaty right...

  7. 2 “Those Relationships Became Countries”
    (pp. 27-55)

    InWe Get Our Living like Milk from the Land, the authors suggest that history needs to be seen as more than “just the past” (Maracle et al. 1993, 17). History must be explored in terms of relationships, they argue, “because those relationships became Countries” (17). So, too, the dispute in Burnt Church is more than just the past. The dispute tells us something about the Canada that has developed from those early treaty relationships. The dispute is also, itself, a set of relationships – relationships not only of conflict and confrontation but also of alliance, sorrow, solidarity, and estrangement. This...

  8. 3 Contested Place
    (pp. 56-80)

    The relationships and disjunctures between the Mi’kmaw and English Burnt churches are written in landscape. The two communities are spread out along the water where Church River runs into Miramichi Bay. They are the northern and easternmost communities in the region known as the Miramichi, located on the boundary where the Miramichi meets the Acadian Peninsula. While the province maintains the roads in the English community, responsibility for roads has been downloaded from the federal government to the band council in Esgenoôpetitj, who have struggled with the task. So in my first days in Burnt Church, it became clear to...

  9. 4 Seeking Justice: Rights and Religion in the Dispute
    (pp. 81-115)

    The years of the dispute had a huge impact on the everyday life of the residents of Burnt Church/Esgenoôpetitj. There was tremendous upheaval in the day-to-day routes and routines of the two communities, and people found themselves having to confront violence or conflict as a regular occurrence. Over time, this had a significant effect on people’s identities and world views. In the previous chapter, I considered the development of Burnt Church/Esgenoôpetitj and the English village of Burnt Church as contested places, over many generations. In this chapter, the more immediate effects of the dispute on sense of place in these...

  10. 5 Conservation Talk: Negotiating Power and Place
    (pp. 116-141)

    In 2002, after many months of consultation, the report of the Miramichi Bay Community Relations Panel’s investigation of the conflict in Burnt Church was released. This report documented many of the concerns that local natives and settlers had had about the dispute. It was this report that prompted the chief official of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) in the region to comment, “Perhaps it never really was about fish” (CBC 2002). As I have shown, the issues at the heart of the dispute are issues of place and displacement, indigenous rights and sovereignty, and authority and belonging. Yet...

  11. 6 The Canadian Way
    (pp. 142-161)

    When one examines the dispute at Burnt Church Esgenoôpetitj, exploring each issue reveals underlying values which merit consideration. Though the dispute was concerned with conservation, it is clearly not simply about fish. For locals, concern for conservation is an expression of deep concern for their livelihoods and the future of their own communities, and is a way to seek allies and resist the controlling power of governmental practices. The dispute is also about rights – about the exercise of treaty rights among the Mi’kmaq at Esgenoôpetitj, and about the rights of the individual commercial fishers. But when we look closely at...

  12. Postscript
    (pp. 162-164)

    Life in Burnt Church is not fixed; people’s views, concerns, and relationships continue to shift and change over time. The stories and ideas discussed in this book reflect life in Burnt Church/Esgenoôpetitj in 2004–5. As the years pass, some things stay the same. Some things change. The joys of daily life in the Burnt Churches continue to develop, side by side with the challenges.

    In the summers of 2007 and 2009, I returned to Burnt Church to visit friends and colleagues and to share excerpts and ideas from my writing about the dispute with those who were interested. In...

  13. Notes
    (pp. 165-174)
  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 175-184)
  15. Index
    (pp. 185-203)