Shy Francis, known as “Awesome Awesome” said she wasn’t surprised to see the Mi’kmaq Warrior Peacekeepers arrive at the Saulnierville wharf, after a week of violence in Southwestern Nova Scotia.
“They only come when things are real bad, now it’s getting real bad there, it’s just getting too unreal,” she said.
Commercial fishermen vandalized two lobster pounds where Sipekne’katik First Nations stored their lobster and people were physically attacked.
Sipekne’katik First Nation Chief Mike Sack was sucker punched when trying to hold a news conference, an Elder had sage knocked out of her hand while she was smudging, and a woman was grabbed by the neck.
The commercial fishermen have been violently against moderate livelihood fishery that was launched by Sipekne’katik First Nation – the first to launch their moderate livelihood fishery a month ago.
Mi’kmaw lobster harvesters have been attacked on the water, traps have been seized and boats have been cut.
There have been false accusations and mis-information spread on social media.
The frozen lobster the commercial fishermen stole from a lobster pound and posted on social media as lobster caught by Mi’kmaw fishermen was proved false.
Brendon Coulstring, an employee of the pound posted on social media that the frozen lobster was caught during the commercial fishery last year and was owned by a person overseas.
Meanwhile at Saulnierville wharf, Sipekne’katik lobster harvesters are still fishing for a moderate livelihood an inherent right supported by the Supreme Court in 1999.
Francis is a single parent, and fishes to support her son.
“I had to go and get some of my money that’s out there I can’t let people bully me around and think that I’m just going to stop because they want me to stop,” said Francis.
The Mi’kmaq Warrior Peacekeepers came on the boat. They are all experienced lobster harvesters, and they arrived Thursday night to keep the peace on and off the water.
“For security, there’s nobody out here to protect me. That’s my protection, they’re my peacekeepers. They keep us safe, there’s nobody here to help us,” said Francis.
The RCMP have been criticized for not taking action and keeping the Mi’kmaw fishers safe.
On Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that Ottawa is “extremely active” in trying to de-escalate the situation and directed some of his comments at police.
“We are expecting the RCMP and police services to do their jobs and keep people safe. I think there’s been some concern that that hasn’t been done well enough, and that’s certainly something we will be looking at very closely.”
More people are in support of the Sipekne’katik moderate livelihood fishery, including the Society of the New Brunswick Acadians.
“Racism is a significant factor that contributes to dangerously inflaming the current situation,” the group said in a statement. “As a minority with its own turbulent history, Acadia must recognize the importance of the Mi’kmaq’s struggle to assert their constitutional rights …”
The Acadians denounced the violence and urged others to stop the violence.
Shy Francis continues to harvest lobster, earning a moderate livelihood.
And exercising her treaty rights, to hunt, gather, and fish to earn a moderate livelihood that was upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada in 1999, known as the Marshall Decision.