Dalhousie faculty association investigating president's letter on Mi'kmaq fishery

Dalhousie University

Dalhousie's faculty association is investigating after the university's president emailed teachers, staff and students to warn them against making negative comments about an Indigenous-run fishery.

The letter comes following weeks of tension between Indigenous and non-Indigenous fishers over the right of the Mi'kmaq First Nation to fish and sell lobster during the off-season in southwestern Nova Scotia.

Faculty association president David Westwood said today his organization is looking into whether the email from Dalhousie president Deep Saini and vice-provost Theresa Rajack-Talley is a violation of academic freedom.

The email, dated Sept. 23, says negative comments against the Mi'kmaq community's right to a livelihood are not reflective of Dalhousie's core values.

Mi'kmaq fishers have been asserting their treaty right, which was affirmed in a 1999 Supreme Court decision, to fish for a moderate livelihood.

Non-Indigenous fishers say the Mi'kmaq should follow the licensing system established by the federal government, which prohibits lobster fishing during the off-season, which is from May to November.