Peace and Friendship Treaty Days Symposium | UNB

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Mi'kmaq-Wolastoqey Centre

2021 Peace and Friendship Treaty Days Symposium

Reinvigorating Peace and Friendship Treaties: Remedies and Responses to Systemic Racism in the Criminal Justice System

March 16-18, 2021

The theme of MWC’s sixth annual Peace and FriendshipTreaty Days Symposium, “Reinvigorating Peace and Friendship Treaties: Remedies and Responses to Systemic Racism in the Criminal Justice System,” took shape from a plea for answers from the family of Rodney Levi.

Four months after an RCMP officer shot and killed Rodney Levi on June 12, 2020, in the Signigtog District, the RCMP stood by and watched while the Mi’kmaq of Sipekne’katik were met with violence and destruction of property for asserting their treaty right to fish. The connection between these acts of violence point to the root of systemic racism in the criminal justice system:

Our Peace and Friendship treaties, as nation-to-nation agreements based on principles of mutual co-existence, are not being honoured, contributing to dispossession and a history of criminalizing Wabanaki relations to the land, resources and to one another.

The MWC Treaty Days Online Symposium offers a platform for Indigenous scholars, students, community members, and organizations to discuss recentering the Peace and Friendship Treaties in our relations with the settler society. All are welcome to join us in considering how the recognition and implementation of Peace and Friendship Treaties should be the foundation of responses and remedies to systemic racism in the criminal justice system.

Conference program

  • March 16 | Keynote, 6:30 p.m. | Sákéj Henderson, Research Fellow, College of Law, University of Saskatchewan. Join the live session.
  • March 17 | Panel 1, 6:30 p.m. | Criminal Justice, Systemic Racism, and Nation-to-Nation Relations: The Imperative of an Inquiry into the Shootings of Rodney Levi and Chantel Moore. Join the live session.
  • March 18 | Panel 2, 6:30 p.m. | Honouring (not Criminalizing) Nation-to-Nation Treaty Rights: The Mi’kmaq of Sipekne’katik and the Right to Fish. Join the live session.

With this virtual gathering of Indigenous scholars and representatives from Wabanaki communities and organizations, we hope to discuss and collectively develop our responses to these tragedies and challenges. Many of the challenges we face today are indicative of ongoing and systemic processes of dispossession that continue to inform and frustrate essential dialogues around Aboriginal title, treaty federalism, the need for a justice inquiry and Wabanaki rights to sustenance and survival.

In hosting this conference, we may begin to answer the questions posed by Rodney Levi’s family: why did this happen and what should we do?