There are a few people around here that think they are back in the 1970s and 1980s fighting for Anishinaabeg fishing rights. They’ll post videos and messages that will trick you into thinking that they are the last free band of Indians fighting for their rights and freedom.
But it’s just not the case. In reality, these misguided few are acting out of greed demanding their individual rights above all else.
They speak of “inherent rights” and “treaty rights”. But what they’re really demanding is their individual rights above their fellow band members, above their grandchildren, above the Lake and above the fish.
Well let me tell it like it is.
These Nbisiing fisherman… or let me rephrase that… these “Nipissing-Indian-Band-status-card-holders” are fishing illegally! They’re certainly not acting like real Anishinaabeg.
They are, in fact, the biggest threat to our Lake, our fishery and our rights.
- The right to harvest fish is a collective right. Period. It belongs to me, you and our compliant commercial fishers.
- The right to an indigenous fishery also means we have the right to regulate ourselves. Nipissing First Nation, our elected Chief and Council is doing just that with the help of the MNR.
- My unborn grandchildren, your grandchildren, even their grandchildren and seven generations of future Anishinaabeg also have a right to fish. They most certainly have a right to harvest walleye.
- The fish have a right to survive as a species on our lake.
- We have a right, responsibility and obligation to adhere to our most sacred of Anishinaabeg teachings: to look after all of Creation as stewards of the land and water… to speak for all those creatures who cannot speak for themselves. The Lake Nipissing walleye.
Do those fishing illegally care about these rights?? Of course not. They are on the wrong side of the rights fight.
Our research… yes, Nipissing First Nation research which includes accepted scientific data, methods and analysis, clearly indicates, unequivocally, that the walleye fishery is in severe collapse. The MNR’s data shows the exact same thing. Our commercial fishery is not sustainable. That’s why our Chief and Council have closed the fishery.
You argue that the numbers aren’t right. Well you got us on that one! They’re not right because you hide your real numbers in your freezers and coolers strewn about your front yards. If we had more accurate numbers from you, the data would certainly show the fishery is far worse shape.
By your actions, you are saying “F*CK YOU” to the rest of us, to responsibility and to the collective rights of us Nbisiing Anishinaabeg. You wrap yourself in a phoney cape of a “rights crusader” and continue to take-take-take. That’s all you know. Take-take-take.
You claim to be harassed by the MNR. Well, for the first time in history, the MNR is on our side. Nipissing First Nation signed a Memorandum of Understanding that enables them to help enforce our fisheries regulations. They’re lifting your nets because we want them to. The MNR and our fisheries department are working in partnership to stop you from fishing illegally in order to protect our fishery. This is a good thing.
With all due respect, if it was my choice – you’d not only lose your nets. You’d lose your boats, trucks, and ATVs too.
You don’t offer any new ideas to help the situation that you’ve helped create. How will you help protect our fishery? How will you ensure the sustainability of our fishery? How will you protect the walleye that had fed us for millennia? Instead you call your little meetings, talk sh*t about our Chief and Council, our fisheries program and accepted science, and wail on about standing up for indigenous rights.
Well boys and girls, the right to take-take-take is NOT Anishinaabe. To disregard me and your fellow band members is NOT Anishinaabe. You teach your children to disregard the fish, the science, regulations and the rest of your fellow Nbisiing Anishinaabeg. If you continue on this course the walleye fishery in Lake Nipissing will be extinct.
Our ancestor’s signed the Treaty, created this way of life and fought for these rights for the benefit of seven generations into the future. Not just for you. Not just to take-take-take.
Here’s my call to action:
ACTION: My fellow Nbisiing Anishinaabeg, I’m asking you to speak up. It’s time to stand up and protect the lake, the fish and our right to a future fishery. I’m asking you to stand up and speak out against those who threaten our fishery. That’s not the MNR, our fisheries officials or our Chief and Council. The real threat are from those who are fishing illegally, pretending to be the righteous, who disregard what is right.