Hundreds rally in support of Acadian, Indigenous language rights
Pour la version française du communiqué : version française
SITANSISK, Tuesday, October 25th, 2022 - More than 300 supporters and allies flooded the front lawn of the New Brunswick Legislature on Tuesday, marking the Speech from the Throne with a stern reminder for lawmakers flirting with policies that threaten the rights of minorities in the province.
The raucous crowd included members of both the Wolastoqey and Mi’kmaw First Nations, as well as members of the Acadian and francophone community and civil society.
The procession marched in the form of a Tintamarre from Fredericton’s city hall to the legislature grounds, as inside Premier Blaine Higgs tabled a document describing his government's priorities for the new legislative session.
They were joined by a busload of community members from Pabineau First Nation and Mi’gmawe’l Tplu’taqnn, representatives from Sitansisk and the Wolastoqey Nation in New Brunswick, students from École Sainte-Anne and many supporters from around New Brunswick who wanted to call respectful attention to the Higgs government’s attacks on minority rights involving language, cultural recognition, and reconciliation.
“We delivered an urgent reminder to the elected officials in that building that we are still here. The fact we have to gather on the front lawn of the legislature to defend our rights is a clear indictment of this government,” said Chief Allan Polchies Jr. of Sitansisk (St. Mary’s First Nation). “I want to thank our allies from the Société de l'Acadie du Nouveau-Brunswick and Mi'gmawe'l Tplu'taqnn for this meaningful collaboration. We hope our demonstration has shown Premier Higgs it’s time to rethink how he manages issues close to the hearts of Indigenous and Acadian people.”
“As an Acadian and francophone, I consider it a moral obligation to stand with our Wabanaki allies to say enough is enough,” said Alexandre Cédric Doucet, president of the SANB. “Linguistic diversity means not only protecting the French language, but also the First Languages of this land, Wolastoqey and Mi’kmaw. The rights and aspirations of both Acadian and First Nations communities must be heard in Fredericton. Today, this message was heard loud and clear,” added Mr. Doucet.
“Today’s show of unity and support should be taken as a clear signal to the leaders of this government that it’s time to re-think relations with Indigenous and Acadian communities. We continue to push for a relationship based on respect with this government,” said Chief Terry Richardson of Pabineau First Nation. “Language is the heart of our cultures. I dream of a day where New Brunswick is not only bilingual, but where the province also recognises First Nations’ languages,” concluded Chief Richardson.
A Tintamarre is a cultural event often celebrated on National Acadian Day, August 15th, where people dress up and take to the street to make as much noise as possible with instruments, bells, pots and pans, etc. Following initial discussions, WNNB and MTI leaders agreed to join this typically Acadian procession as the official guests of honour of the Tintamarre.
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For more information, please contact:
Éric Dow, SANB
Wolastoqey Nation in NB