OTTAWA, Aug. 6 /CNW Telbec/ - National Chief Shawn Atleo expressed sorrow
at this morning's passing of Donald Marshall, a Nova Scotia Mi'kmaq activist
who made an enormous contribution in advancing First Nations rights.
"Donald Marshall is an individual who forever changed the legal landscape
in terms of how Canada must deal fairly and justly with Aboriginal and First
Nations' human and Treaty rights," said National Chief Atleo. "In 1971, Mr.
Marshall was wrongfully convicted of murder and served many years in prison. A
subsequent Royal Commission found that he was an innocent victim of racism.
"In 1999, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in favour of Mr. Marshall,
who had been charged with fishing out of season. The Supreme Court recognized
that the Treaties of 1760-61 affirmed the Mi'kmaq right to sell fish to earn a
moderate livelihood. This landmark ruling has been cited in countless cases
involving Treaty rights over the past decade," said National Chief Atleo.
In May, 2000, Mr. Marshall received the Wolf Award for his courageous
efforts in creating awareness about issues of systemic and overt racism,
particularly with respect to Aboriginal peoples and the justice system and for
his efforts to promote mutual respect between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal
peoples through outreach to youth, communities and to justice system
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing
First Nations citizens in Canada.
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