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Building understanding through learning

A Message from NSCC President Don Bureaux

Oct. 26, 2020 – Statement

As Mi’kmaq History month draws to a close, I have spent some time on the weekend reflecting on recent events in our province. 

We are all Treaty People.

This is a phrase often spoken here at NSCC. We say it when we acknowledge that our buildings stand on the unceded territory of the Mi’kmaw Nation. We consider it every day as we work toward creating a safe and welcoming space in which to learn and work.

Over the past number of weeks, we have witnessed terrible acts of racialized violence and destruction targeting members of the Mi’kmaw Nation. We have a long history of systemic racism against Indigenous people, in our province and in our country. NSCC unequivocally condemns these actions. They are harmful and divisive and undermine the path to peaceful co-existence laid out in the Treaties of Peace and Friendship.

We are all Treaty People.

These words can bring us together as a College and as citizens. They remind us of the obligation we have as individuals to fully understand and live by our Treaty responsibilities. NSCC, as a pan-provincial, community college whose mission is to improve our economy and quality of life through education and innovation can play a key role in building that understanding through learning.

Right now, the federal government of Canada and the Mi’kmaw Nation are working toward a shared understanding of what it means when the language in our treaties is applied to the lobster fishery. It is work that challenges long-established practices that have shaped livelihoods, families and communities throughout our province. It is work that challenges us to fully understand and live by the rights and responsibilities laid out in our treaties and affirmed in the Supreme Court of Canada’s Marshall Decision.

Members of our College community may experience pain and trauma as work toward a resolution continues. Please care for yourself and for one another and know supports are available.

In the words of Chief Robert Joseph, Ambassador for Reconciliation Canada, “Let us find a way to belong to this time and place together. Our future, and the wellbeing of all our children, rests with the kind of relationships we build today.”

Warmest regards,
Don Bureaux

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