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Elizabeth Marshall to Premier Stephen McNeil: The debt to my people must be paid in full

Mi’kmaq Grandmother Elizabeth Marshall wrote the following open letter to Premier Stephen McNeil on the occasion of the introduction of Bill 213, the Sustainable Development Goals Act. It’s republished here with her kind permission.

Elizabeth Marshall. Photo Facebook

Dear Premier Stephen McNeil.


I am writing to remind the Legislature of some facts regarding their work on the Sustainable Development Goals Act.

In 2017, I was asked to be grandmother for the Mi’kmaq nation by Elders of my Nation. Prior to this I was a Warrior and a Water Protector for my family and community. You might be aware of our work to remove Cornwallis, at the great upset of numerous fans of his racist ruthless symbol of colonialism, and a complete disregard for our Treaties.

I would implore the politicians to remember several facts as you proceed, acting as if you are the Title holder of so called Nova Scotia.

1. Nova Scotia, Canada Corporation, Crown Corporation, or the Liberal Party do not hold title for Mi’kma’ki. The Mi’kmaq under our traditional Wabanaki Confederacy hold the L’nupskuk Wampum which defines the terms of reference for occupation and settlement of Mi’kmaki’k by colonists and my family. Government, religion, church, or colonial regimes are not mentioned as the title holders.

2. The Indian Act chiefs, their consulting firms such as KMK or the Assembly of Nova Scotia chiefs can only speak for the chiefs. They are legislated by the federal government under the Indian Act. The Indian Act was adopted as policy in 1876 by Crown corporation to manage their Indian affairs, and to attempt to exterminate our Treaties and Title. By 1876, The Wapanaki nations already had L’nupskuk Wampum, these conditions led to the 18th centuries treaties with the Crown. Numerous federal rulings have squashed all attempts by the Crown to steal our Title. Over and over you are told, our Treaties are valid and we hold Title.

3. The Indian Act chief election at Eskasoni has been imposed on us since 1952. Our L’nupskuk Wampum are 300 years older. By attempting to give authority to Indian Act chiefs authority over L’nupskuk is like saying, your Nova Scotia government has 100% authority over the Vatican church, government and people. Try exerting your so called power in Rome, you will be executed before you are given authority. We adopted Peace and Friendship over 250 years ago, perhaps your government should begin to honour Peace and Friendship.

4. The so called province of Nova Scotia has distributed hundreds of illegal land grants to promote settlement for the crown in the last 200 years. Generations of your tax paying families have prospered and built equity off the lands stolen from my family. In your discussions on sustainability, THE DEBT TO MY PEOPLE MUST BE PAID IN FULL. Why is there an 85% rate of poverty at my Indian reserve so that your family could be wealthy. Time to pay up before we can live in Peace and Friendship.

5. We will resist all of your attempts to destroy Land, Air & Water. Why? We have inherited the duty to uphold the Sacred.

6. Stop the genocide against my relations now.

With a special thanks to our generous donors who make publication of the Nova Scotia Advocate possible.

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