Donald Marshall Jr.

Treaty rights ruling wenty-one years ago… 

In August 1993, after catching and selling eels near Antigonish, NS, Marshall was convicted on charges of fishing out of season and without a licence. That began a six-year legal battle over First Nations treaty rights that went all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada.  In a landmark ruling reached in 1999, the court upheld fishing and hunting rights that the Crown had granted the Mi’kmaq Nation in a treaty signed in 1760. The Marshall case remains an important Indigenous rights ruling affirming the right of First Nations people to earn a “moderate” commercial livelihood from fishing and hunting, subject only to conservation requirements. Marshall, who never considered himself a political activist, said, 

“I wasn’t there for myself.  I was there for my people.”