National Indigenous Group Files Court Application Over Inadequate and Discriminatory Funding During COVID-19

OTTAWA, May 13, 2020 — The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP) and its Provincial and Territorial Organizations (PTOs) today filed an urgent court application over the federal government’s inadequate and discriminatory funding during the COVID-19 pandemic. The shocking lack of funding and discrimination impacts the most vulnerable and disadvantaged Indigenous peoples in Canada.

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Chief & President’s Holiday Message

As Chief and President, I would like to send a warm and friendly greeting to everyone this Holiday Season and hope you enjoy this time with friends and loved ones. I would also like to take this time to reflect on this past year and give a big thank you, to the Native Council staff, Board members, Community members, partners, and supporters for all of their hard work, efforts and contributions to help us go forward to a better future.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Etawey wli nuelewin aq pusu’l Puna’ne!


Chief and President’s response to Manitoba Métis Federation

The Native Council of Nova Scotia is not in agreement with the Manitoba Métis Federation where they are applauding the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’Kmaq Chiefs for creating a system of ID cards for those who qualify for Treaty hunting and fishing rights in the Province of Nova Scotia.

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Off-reserve Mi’kmaq sue N.S. over treaty hunting and fishing rights

Class-action lawsuit filed after chiefs, province deny use of Native Council of Nova Scotia treaty rights

Four members of the Native Council of Nova Scotia are suing the provincial government over off-reserve access to Mi’kmaw treaty hunting and fishing rights. (Radio Canada)

The Nova Scotia government is facing a class-action lawsuit in a dispute over Mi’kmaw treaty hunting and fishing rights.

Earlier this week, the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaw Chiefs announced the creation of new harvester identification cards, after what it called wide consultations with members of the Mi’kmaq nation.

The chiefs say the new cards are in response to hunters self-identifying as Mi’kmaw or Métis, and to some hunters using cards issued by the Native Council of Nova Scotia.

The provincial government has agreed to accept the new cards, as well as status cards issued by Indigenous Services Canada.

However, in July, four members of the native council launched a class-action lawsuit in Nova Scotia Supreme Court seeking $40 million in damages on behalf of the council’s 3,500 members, consisting of status and non-status Mi’kmaq living off-reserve.

Council Chief Lorraine Augustine said her organization is not directly suing the province, but the plaintiffs are council members who are being denied treaty rights.

No consultation

“The province has no jurisdiction on treaty rights, and, as a matter of fact, neither do the chiefs,” she said.

“And when they talk about consulting the Mi’kmaq nation? I’m a status Indian. I was never consulted. So who did they consult? It definitely wasn’t the off-reserve and it definitely wasn’t the non-status.”

The province has not yet responded to the court action. A spokesperson for the government declined to comment, saying the issue is before the courts.

Augustine said the plaintiffs used to hunt moose in the Cape Breton Highlands for their families.

Since the 2017 agreement between the province and the assembly of chiefs, they have been unable to do so, she said.

“Those four plaintiffs are taking this class-action suit against the province for losing their right to hunt for food,” Augustine said.

“They’ve taken the food off the table of these people.”

About 700 cards issued

Augustine said that until 2016 the council issued Aboriginal Treaty Rights Access cards to members who wished to hunt and fish according to treaty rights that date back to the 1700s.

The council only issued about 700 of the cards, she said.

Non-status council members still have to be able to prove Mi’kmaw ancestry dating back to the time of the treaties, which state that they cover the tribe, their heirs and the heirs of their heirs, forever, Augustine said.

Band councils are creations under the federal Indian Act, which Augustine said is a colonial instrument that did not exist when the treaties were signed.

Moose management

“That’s something that has been imposed on the Aboriginal people,” she said.

“I don’t go by the Indian Act. I might have a status card, but it’s useless to me. I live off the reserve. I’ve always lived off the reserve.”

If the chiefs and the province are concerned about management of the moose population in the highlands, they should follow the hunting guidelines created in 1986 by the council and the Union of Nova Scotia Indians, Augustine said.

In 2016, provincial estimates put the moose population in Cape Breton Highlands at roughly 5,800, she said.

“In 2017, the province decided they were not going to recognize our cards, and then you look at the stats, in 2019, the moose is down to about 1,400,” said Augustine.

“So you tell me who has the management system. Where did all those moose go? It wasn’t us hunting.”.

Native Council of Nova Scotia (NCNS) hosts their 45th Annual General Assembly

September 13, 2019 (Truro, NS) – Chief Lorraine Augustine is pleased to announce the Native Council of Nova Scotia (NCNS), the Self-Governing Authority for Mi’kmaq/ Aboriginal Peoples residing Off-Reserve in present day Nova Scotia throughout traditional Mi’kmaq Territory of Mi’kma’ki, will hold their 45th Annual General Assembly in Truro, Nova Scotia on September 14 and 15, 2019 at the Holiday Inn, 437 Prince Street, Truro, NS.
Chief Augustine, is pleased to have National Chief Robert Bertrand from the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP) in Ottawa, in attendance as well as affiliates of CAP from other provinces.

For more information please contact:

Brooke Willis
Assistant to the Chief and President

Chief and President Lorraine Augustine Addresses the Crowd at the Call To Action in Ottawa

June 20, 2019

Chief and President Lorraine Augustine addresses the crowd at the Call To Action in Ottawa.

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“We Will Not Be Forgotten” – Day of Action – Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, Ottawa ON

June 20th, 2019

Native Council of Nova Scotia Chief and President Lorraine Augustine, and Board of Directors, Kirk Arsenault, Ivan Bolivar, Yvette Donovan, Wade White and youth Chelsea Donovan participated today in the Call for Action; where C.A.P. demanded the federal government live up to the Daniels Decision. 

The Supreme Court unanimously determined, in Daniels, that Aboriginal people without Indian status are still “Indians” within the meaning of Canada’s 1867 Constitution.

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United Nations, April 25, 2019

United Nations, April 25, 2019

Chief Lorraine Augustine, on behalf of the Congress of Aboriginal People’s, presented a statement on discrimination on the rights of Indigenous Peoples to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York.

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C.A.P.-United Nations Side Event

April 24, 2019

During today’s United Nations side event Native Council of Nova Scotia’s Chief Lorraine Augustine provided information on the largest Indigenous population in Canada. The Indigenous people who continue to live on their traditional homelands, off Indian Act created reservations.  

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United Nations Plenary – April 23, 2019

Chief and President Native Council of Nova Scotia,Lorraine Augustine; National Chief, Congress of Aboriginal People’s, Robert Bertrand and President Todd Russell Nunatukavut attending the United Nations on April 23, 2019.

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