SEPT-ÎLES, QC, April 28 /CNW Telbec/ - Here is the open letter to the editor from the Chiefs of the Innu Strategic Alliance:
In 1927, the Privy Council of London met and decided upon of what would
become the border between Quebec and Labrador, a territory annexed to
Canada along with the province of Newfoundland when it joined the
Canadian Confederation in 1949. The important point to remember is that
there was, and well before 1927, an Indigenous group, the Innu
(previously called the Montagnais) who lived on this territory. Our
ancestors spent their entire life, from birth to their passing, hunting,
using and occupying the land. They lived off the land, on the Labrador
side as well as on the Quebec side. From time immemorial, our hunters
relied on the Caribou for the sustenance of our People and up to today,
the Innu have always maintained a special relationship with it.
For the survival of our nation (as recognized in 1985 by the Quebec
National Assembly), for the survival of our language and that of our
culture, we believe that this special relationship with our Land and its
resources must be maintained and should not be severed without our
consent. That is the fundamental reason why we continue to occupy our
territory and why we pursue our traditional activities, regardless of the
Quebec and Labrador border that we just do not recognize.
The hostility of the Newfoundland and Labrador government regarding the
Quebec Innu has been felt by our People for many years, but is not
justified. We are not claiming anything to anyone. But we are proclaiming
our inherent existing rights and we feel we are entitled to be respected
in the exercise of those rights. After all, we live in a society where
the rule of law prevails. Thus, our rights, including our aboriginal
right to hunt for our sustenance, guaranteed in our Constitution, should
be recognized and fully respected.
It is therefore imperative that Katie Dunderdale, Deputy Premier and
Newfoundland Minister of Natural Resources, accepts this simple fact : as
long as our rights are not recognized in Labrador, we will continue to
organize hunting expeditions with two goals in mind: the survival of our
members and the recognition of our rights.
No hidden faces
We are ready to have our day in court, defend and win our cause and be
recognized as Innu in our homeland: Nitassinan. As a matter of fact, in
February, in our last community hunt, none of our members had their faces
hidden or covered and we will continue to do so in the future as we feel
that our actions are legitimate and legal. The simple fact that none of
our members was arrested proves without a doubt that we have a valid
claim in our positions.
We urge the Newfoundland government, the media and the people of
Newfoundland and Labrador to lay back a bit and try to look at the
situation with a broader perspective. Our current approach is in no way
directed against the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. We simply ask
for the legitimate recognition of our rights on our homeland: Nitassinan.
Our Nation won't back down as we are ready to stand on our grounds as
The five Chiefs of the Innu Strategic Alliance
SOURCE INNU STRATEGIC ALLIANCE
For further information: For further information: Marie-Hélène Boudreau-Picard, Consultant, Cardinal Communication, (450) 638-5159, (514) 349-2315, 1-877-638-5159, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.cardinalcommunication.com