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Mi kmaq Maliseet Institute hosts lecture on Aboriginal and Treaty rights

Author: Communications

Posted on Feb 22, 2013

Category: UNB Fredericton

*Please note that this lecture has been cancelled due to a winter storm warning*

On Thursday, Feb. 28, the Mi’kmaq Maliseet Institute (MMI) at the University of New Brunswick will host Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Regional Chief for New Brunswick/ PEI, Roger Augustine, and Fredericton-based lawyer Thomas J. Burke, as part of the Wolastoqiyik / Mi’kmaq Speaker Series, Welcome to Our Talking Circle.

The lecture, As Long As The Sunshines ...: Peace and Friendship Treaties are Idle No More, will focus predominantly on Aboriginal and Treaty rights, expropriation of First Nations land and land claims, as well as the current national movement, Idle No More. This is the third event of the speaker series, which aims to bring Wolastoqi and Mi’kmaq First Nations speakers, stories and perspectives to UNB.

Everyone is invited to attend this free public event, which will begin with a traditional feast starting at 6 p.m., followed by the lecture at 7 p.m.  It will take place in Room 143, Marshall d’Avray Hall, UNB Fredericton.

The series, which launched in October 2012, was conceived by MMI’s Elder-in-residence, Imelda Perley.  Perley envisioned this speaker series as a way to bring the Wolastoqey and Mi’kmaq First Nations of New Brunswick, the university community and the greater Fredericton area together.

Roger Augustine, a Mi’kmaq from Natoageneg (Eel Ground First Nation),is currently AFN Regional Chief for New Brunswick/PEI, and has been involved in politics, economic development, and the environment for over 30 years.  He is the co-founder of the Atlantic Policy Congress (APC), the political voice for First Nations Chiefs in Atlantic Canada, and he was one of several dozen representative Chiefs from across Canada to sign the historic 1981 Declaration of Aboriginal and Treaty Rights. Mr. Augustine has also served as a commissioner on the Indian Claims Commission (ICC), and is currently chair of the Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources (CIER) Board of Directors. Recently, Mr. Augustine stepped in as interim leader for the AFN while National Chief Shawn Atleo was on sick leave.  He will speak directly about Treaty rights, what they are, and why they are still relevant and important today.

Thomas J. Burke, who is known by friends and family as T.J., is a member of Neqotkuk (Tobique First Nation). Mr. Burke is a Fredericton-based lawyer and he is a partner in the law firm of Theriault Burke. While his law practice focuses primarily on labour and employment and criminal law, he also works extensively with First Nations throughout the Maritimes. Currently, his firm is working in collaboration with the federal government to resolve outstanding land claim issues concerning illegal expropriation of reserved lands.  He served as lead counsel in the matter of Her Majesty the Queen v. Darrell Gray at the Supreme Court of Canada, which was successfully rendered in 2007. In 2003, Mr. Burke made history in our Maritime Provinces by becoming the first Aboriginal person elected as an MLA to the provincial legislature. He served in the legislature until 2009, including 3 years in the cabinet as Attorney General. He will be presenting on the expropriation of First Nations lands, current land claim issues, and settlements.

MMI works as an equal partner with Wolastoqi (Maliseet) and Mi’kmaq First Nation educators in research, policy, administration, and the development of programs that meet educational needs as defined by First Nations communities.

For media interview requests, please contact Natasha Ashfield.

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