Migwite’tm’nej 2015

Even though weather prevented people from marching this year, Migwite’tm’nej still brought people together to remember the 1981 raids.

“Today is a very sad and special day for our community,” said Madelien Germain, from the stage in the Bingo Hall. “Some of the men that were brutally abused, beaten … Some women were also abused, children were abused. And we’re remembering all of this today.”

Typically, there is a march from the wharf to the bingo hall, where a salmon meal is prepared. However, with threats of a large lightning storm, the decision was made to just gather at the hall.

Councillor, Derek Barnaby spoke.

“History has shown that Quebec and Canada have done everything in their power to eliminate us, to stop us from traditional harvesting of our food,” he said.

“They made it illegal for us to fish Salmon, they made it illegal for us to hunt and to provide for our families.”

The raid on June 11, 1981 was over an attempt to limit Listuguj salmon fishermen.

“At the end of the day, when people were going to jail, when people were abused, when people were hurt, our people here in Listuguj got together, and we said ‘enough is enough.’”

People gathered around the bridge in 1981, where the Quebec Provincial Police had set up a blockade, and were protecting game wardens as they destroyed fishing nets.

“From the process we learned that we need to stay together. Division does not help us in any way,” Barnaby said. “We’ve come to the understand that we are very strong, we’re very powerful. And we recognize our power in our existence today.”

Barnaby concluded by calling on everyone to “never forget 1981, and to be proud of who we are as Mi’gmaq people.”

Click here to see video of Barnaby’s speech.

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