Mi’kmaw woman is back on the water fishing, for now

Trina Roache
APTN National News
MILLBROOK FIRST NATION, NS — A Mi’kmaw woman is fishing again after Canada’s Human Rights Tribunal found her band discriminated against her.

But a happy ending for Stacy Lee Marshall Tabor is still up in the air. At the same time the Millbrook band in Nova Scotia hired her as a deckhand, it asked the Federal Court to reverse the tribunal’s decision.

Stacy Lee Marshall Tabor

Just the same, Tabor is relieved to finally be out on the water again after eight years.

“I was so overwhelmed,” said Tabor. “The ‘I won’ factor, I did it. I’m here, missing my kids, scared at the same time, like, what do these guys on the boat think of me? I took some deep breaths and got back into the wheelhouse.”

Tabor said she was denied work in the Millbrook First Nation Fishery because she’s a woman.

Last May, the tribunal agreed. It found Tabor’s situation reflects a larger discriminatory attitude towards “the place of women in the community, namely that they should stay home with their kids.”

Canadian Human Rights Tribunal

At the beginning of July, Tabor headed out to fish snow crab.

“All she had to do was apply,” said Millbrook band manager Alex Cope. “She never really did that before. When she did, she got the job.”

Tabor agreed that in recent years she had given up and not applied. She added that back when she was trying to get work on a boat, there was no formal hiring process.

Prior to 2007, Tabor did work at various times as a deckhand and First Mate. She was a qualified captain, but was denied job opportunities and advancement in the fishery. The tribunal found the band ignored or downplayed Tabor’s experience and pointed to systemic sex discrimination as the cause.

The band has asked the Federal Court of Appeal to review the decision.

No one at the Millbrook band would comment, instead that to its lawyer.

“The tribunal simply got it wrong,” said Gavin Giles, a lawyer for the Millbrook Band. “It overstated the importance of some evidence and largely ignored other evidence.”

“We say Ms. Tabor was not discriminated against,” said Giles. “And that the band didn’t systemically discriminate against women with respect to employment opportunities.”

Giles said the band wants the decision either overturned or a new hearing altogether.

Read original story on Stacy Lee Marshall Tabor here: Mi’kmaw woman wins sex discrimination case against Nova Scotia band

Tabor is not surprised. “They’ve been fighting me tooth and nail for the last several years, this is their last chance.”

There is still another decision expected soon from the tribunal on whether the band retaliated against Tabor because of her human rights complaint.

In addition, the band has yet to come to the table to negotiate damages over Tabor’s loss of employment. Giles said that process may be put aside until the federal court hears the appeal. He expects a date to be set in the fall.

Tabor wants the band to pay for her retraining. Her Captain’s licence has expired. For now, she wants to work.

“Just hoping I can feed my family,” said Tabor. “They want bikes, school clothes, put some money away for Christmas. I don’t want to struggle like I have over the years. When I do get my cheque, I just want to be able to buy my kids the things that they’ve been wanting for so many years.”

[email protected]

Video Journalist

Trina Roache brings 18 years of journalistic experience to APTN Investigates. A member of the Glooscap First Nation in unceded Mi’kmaw territory, Trina has covered Indigenous issues from politics to land protection, treaty rights and more. In 2014, Trina won the Journalists for Human Rights/CAJ award for her series on Jordan’s Principle. She was nominated again in 2017 for a series on healthcare issues in the remote Labrador community of Black Tickle. Trina’s favorite placed is behind the camera, and is honoured when the people living the story, trust her to tell it.

1 thought on “Mi’kmaw woman is back on the water fishing, for now

Comments are closed.