Sipekne’katik First Nation Chief Michael Sack said the community is facing intimidation and threats daily, when addressing the public on Sunday.
Sack spoke at Saulnierville Wharf when he said his band is “potentially facing a million dollar loss” due to community constraints of not being able to sell Mi’kmaq lobster.
He said “intimidation” is being used against businesses within the southern shore communities in Nova Scotia.
On Oct. 13, a lobster pound in Middle West Pubnico was swarmed, vandalized and ransacked by a large crowd of non-Indigenous commercial fishers and their supporters.
At the time, the facility was being used by Mi’kmaq fishers. Jason Marr told Global News earlier this week that he and others were forced to take cover inside the lobster pound as the building’s windows were smashed and Marr’s vehicle was damaged, he said.
The same night, a separate vehicle outside of an New Edinburgh lobster pound was set on fire. RCMP said on Sunday they have charged 31-year-old Michael Burton Nickerson from Yarmouth County with arson causing damage to property.
Sack said it was “great” that Nova Scotia RCMP have laid arson charges in connection with a vehicle fire that happened on Oct. 13 outside a lobster pound on the south shore, but “it’s just a fraction of what needs to happen,” he said
“We got people that are getting threatened daily. Like I receive emails, text messages, messenger. Threats are there on a regular basis,” Sack said Sunday.
Sack was punched by a non-Indigenous man protesting the day after the West Pubnico facility was vandalized.
On, Saturday RCMP said they charged 46-year-old Chris Gerald Melanson of Digby County in relation to the assault of Sack that occurred on Oct. 14 in New Edinburgh, N.S.
The Middle West Pubnico lobster pound was burned to the ground on Saturday morning. That fire is still under investigation.
Sack released a statement Saturday saying that the fire “illustrates the need for greater police presence in the region … I do believe with the proper police presence, however, this could have been avoided.”
According to Sack, the facility is owned by “a friend and ally of Sipekne’katik.” Sack said on Sunday that people are now scared to be associated with the band in fear of violence from non-Indigenous fishermen.