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Returning to Netukulimk: Mi’kmaq cultural and spiritual connections with resource stewardship and self-governance

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Author(s): Kerry Prosper | L. Jane McMillan | Anthony A. Davis | Morgan Moffitt

Journal: International Indigenous Policy Journal
ISSN 1916-5781

Volume: 2;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 1;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: resource stewardship | Mi’kmaq | cultural practices and beliefs | Netukulimk | Aboriginal rights | Indigenous sovereignty

ABSTRACT
Recent global initiatives such as the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples have brought the issues facing and needs of indigenous peoples to the forefront of international attention. While underscoring respect for traditional practices, these initiatives have yet to appreciate fully the extent to whichindigenous peoples’ practices engage ways of being, living and believing that encompass a holistic understanding of the relations between humans and all facets of their ecosystem. The Mi’kmaq, theindigenous people of Maritime Canada, capture and express their holistic understanding through the concept of Netukulimk. In this essay we review core attributes of Netukulimk. We also review key moments in the colonialization assault on Netukulimk as a primary means for subordinating and marginalizing the Mi’kmaq.We close the essay with an overview and discussion of recent developments wherein the Mi’kmaq are working to revitalize the place of Netukulimk in treaty-based rights and Mi’kmaq law-ways, particularly within selfgovernance and resource stewardship initiatives. The Mi’kmaq experiences provide insights regarding thechallenges and requirements for achieving respect for traditional practices as key to affirming the rights of indigenous peoples.

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