Sunset at Parlee Beach

Taken with my smartphone, all colours and contrasts naturally done by Mother Nature!

This is Parlee Beach Provincial Park, in Pointe-du-Chêne, New Brunswick (NB), Canada. This coastal land/water is the traditional and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq, Wolastoqiyik and Peskotomuhkati Indigenous peoples. This territory is covered by the “Treaties of Peace and Friendship” which these nations first signed with the British Crown in 1726 (before Canada became a country). The treaties did not mean the land and resources were being surrendered by Indigenous peoples; the treaties were a commitment from both sides to an ongoing relationship. This was obviously not respected by the British, and later the Canadian/provincial governments, given the small sizes of lands carved out on maps for Indigenous peoples to manage within NB and across Canada.

Sadly, last week, the provincial government of New Brunswick had the audacity to order provincial employees to delete the word ‘unceded’ from their land acknowledgement statements. A small wave of support is building for continued inclusion of the word ‘unceded’. The history of these lands matters immensely and the well documented provincial mismanagement of this land/water (pillaging to the point of extinction, contamination, degradation, etc.) shows that current government structures have not and do not currently ensure the responsible, respectful co-use of the land/waters. We humans obviously must share the incredible planet better among all humans and all other beings, given the simultaneous and escalating biodiversity and climate crises. (See this CBC article from 2017 about the dangerous, ongoing water contamination in the name of tourist dollars at Parlee Beach, an irresponsible and shortsighted capitalist mentality indeed).

Given that September 30th was Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, it is sad that the NB government made such a blatant statement only two weeks later, disregarding the truth that the land was never ceded by Indigenous peoples. The past history and present realities of Canada need to be known and acknowledged before we can ever hope that Indigenous peoples will trust settlers enough to make reconciliation possible. Before reconciliation comes truth. Mind you, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of the Liberal party (i.e. our President) saw no problem with skipping out on the important holiday for a family vacation at the home of wealthy people known to evade taxes (as so serendipitously documented in the massive set of Pandora Papers). So much for leading by example to promote education, self-reflection and better understanding as we collectively work towards reconciliation.

Clearly this country has a looong way to go before we can honestly be applauded for our human rights or environmental efforts.

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