Mohawk communities in Quebec rally to show support for Mi'kmaw fishers

The two Mohawk communities around Montreal - Kanesatake and Kahnawake - organized convoys along major highways Sunday to demonstrate support for Mi'kmaw fishers.

Convoys from Kanesatake and Kahnawake took to nearby highways early Sunday afternoon

Katsenhaiénton Lazare, from Kahnawake, said he wanted to join Sunday's demonstration as a show of solidarity with the Mi'kmaw people in Nova Scotia. (Simon Nakonechny/CBC)

The two Mohawk communities near Montreal organized convoys along major highways on Sunday to show support for Mi'kmaw fishers in Nova Scotia.

Dozens of vehicles — including diggers and ATVs — left the Mohawk community of Kanesatake, northwest of Montreal, around noon and headed east along Highway 640.

Drivers in the convoy honked, waved the Mohawk warrior flag and shouted slogans, including "We don't stand for hatred, and we don't stand for racism."

Around 1 p.m., a similar convoy left Kahnawake, a Mohawk community southwest of Montreal, and headed toward the Mercier Bridge along Highway 132.

A convoy of vehicles, some displaying the warrior flag, left Kahnawake southwest of Montreal on Sunday. (CBC)

Mi'kmaw fishers in Nova Scotia have been the target of increasingly violent protests since launching a livelihood fishery in Sipekne'katik First Nation last month.

Though the Supreme Court has recognized the right of Mi'kmaw fishers to earn a "moderate living" through fishing, commercial fishermen oppose the practice.

Commercial fishermen, angry at off-season lobster fishing, raided a facility on Tuesday where Mi'kmaw fishers were storing their catch.

The chief of Sipekne'katik First Nation was assaulted on Wednesday. The lobster pound was destroyed early Saturday in a fire that police have labelled "suspicious."

'We want justice to be served'

Katsenhaiénton Lazare , from Kahnawake, said he took part in the demonstration as a show of solidarity, and to bring attention to the violence happening in Nova Scotia.

"There's a lot of ignorance. I see all this violence being thrown around against our people," he said. "It's been happening for years, not only in Nova Scotia but in the entire country."

Ellen Gabriel and Al Harrington were among those who took part in the convoy from Kanesatake. (Josh Grant/CBC)

For ​Karonhairokwas​ Whitebean, also from Kahnawake, the demonstration on Sunday was a way to criticize federal law enforcement for failing to protect the Mi'kmaw fishers.

"I feel the RCMP should be playing a bigger role in stopping the people who are terrorizing the Mi'kmaw nation," she said.

"I know that if Indigenous people were to do these types of actions, we would definitely be incarcerated. We would be charged. I don't understand why the RCMP is not doing a better job of protecting people on the ground."

With files from Josh Grant and Simon Nakonechny