Aboriginal Awareness Week: Islanders express strong support for the Mi’kmaq people

by Tammy MacDonald

Aboriginal Awareness Week:

Islanders express strong support for the Mi’kmaq people

However, lack of knowledge of Mi’kmaq issues presents a risk to governments

May 22, 2019 – Charlottetown, PEI

While Islanders are supportive of the Mi’kmaq and issues such as reconciliation, self-government and the recognition of Aboriginal and treaty rights, Islanders are also expressing the need for more information and greater public education about these issues, according to a recent survey.

The survey, conducted by MQO Research between April 11th and 16th, was commissioned by the Mi’kmaq Confederacy of PEI. The results are accurate with plus or minus 4.9 percentage points 19 times out of 20.

“We were particularly impressed by the commitment of individual Islanders to the Reconciliation process,” says Chief Matilda Ramjattan of Lennox Island First Nation. “But we also see that Islanders want to gain a greater understanding of what it is and what role they can play.”

An overwhelming majority of Islanders (83%), expressed support for Reconciliation efforts and believe that both individuals and governments must play a role. An even greater number (86%) believes that reconciliation would benefit from greater public education, as   only a third (37%) believe that Islanders understand what Reconciliation is.

“It is also clear that Islanders want more information about self-government and Aboriginal and treaty rights,” said Councillor Jacob Jadis of Abegweit First Nation. “Our people want our Mi’kmaq governments to assert our rights and to pursue self-government. There is an important job for all orders of government to ensure that Islanders have an accurate understanding of these important issues because misinformation presents a risk to all involved.”

In both cases, most decided Islanders expressed support for self-government negotiations and the recognition of rights (27% and 35% respectively); however, most Islanders (43% and 46% respectively) believe that they need more information before forming an opinion.

On January 15, 2019, the governments of Canada, Prince Edward Island and the PEI Mi’kmaq signed a Framework Agreement that affirms the historic Mi’kmaq treaties and commits the Federal and Provincial government to respectful and cooperative negotiations with the Mi’kmaq. The Agreement is also the beginning of a process to determine how the Mi’kmaq can benefit from their Rights today and in the future, to the benefit of all Mi’kmaq, on and off reserves who are beneficiaries of Mi’kmaq rights and title in PEI.

Other notable survey results include:

  • 73% of Islanders believe that the Mi’kmaq experience discrimination either sometimes or often
  • Islanders believe that the Mi’kmaq have a positive impact on the Island’s economy now (50%) and will have an even greater impact in the future (66%)
  • 34% of Islanders rate their knowledge of the Mi’kmaq as “poor”
  • 56% of Islanders believe that Mi’kmaq self-government is important to the future of PEI

-30-
For more information: Tracey Cutcliffe, 902-626-2882, tcutcliffe@mcpei.ca
Visit our website at http://www.mcpei.ca

Comments are closed.