Mi‘kmaq Knowledge and Conservation in the Fisheries Dispute of 2020
The village of Saulnierville is one of many in Nova Scotia that relies economically on the fishing season. Similar to my hometown, it is also the home and sacred land of Sipekne‘katik First nations, a Mi‘kmaq population who have lived there long before ‘fishing seasons‘ were implemented for conservation reasons. Currently, this Nation does not wish to abide by conservation efforts, due to their existing use of traditional knowledge, or ‘netukulimk.‘ This knowledge transmitted primarily through storytelling has taught Mi‘kmaq people to respect the land they live on. From the colonial perspective, a viewpoint that I was unknowingly a part of, oral traditional knowledge holds no merit in the world of ‘science‘. In this essay, I will attempt to demonstrate how the combination of ignorance of Indigenous oral knowledge and inaccurate narratives of Indigenous people has led to a false understanding of Mi‘kmaq fisher people and their forms of resource management through netukulimk in Saulnierville, Nova Scotia. Through centuries of storytelling and oral knowledge, it is shown that Indigenous populations hold respect for the land they live on. Through centuries of colonialism, a different, ignorant story of Indigeneity is painted by non-Indigenous settlers.
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