Synopsis by Mark Deming
Canadian filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin directed this documentary concerning indigenous Canadians of the Esgenoopetitj Mi'gmaq First Nation, living in the Eastern Canadian province of New Brunswick. In recent years, the Esgenoopetitj Mi'gmaq people had been in conflict with the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans. While 18th century treaties between the Mi'gmaq and European settlers gave the natives the right to fish in New Brunswick's waters, Fisheries and Oceans regulators contended that contemporary laws superseded these agreements. In 1999, a Canadian Supreme Court ruling declared that the Esgenoopetitj Mi'gmaq people did in fact have the right to fish the waters and sell their catch; despite this, Fisheries and Oceans officers have aggressively challenged the rights of native fishermen, sometimes breaking up small fishing parties with violence. Is the Crown at War With Us? is the seventh film from director Obomsawin to examine political and social issues germane to indigenous Canadians; she herself was born to members of the Abenaki nation.
Canada, conflict, court [law], fisherman, fishing-village, indigenous-peoples, land-rights, rights, treaty, violence