Still from In Defense Of Our Treaties
Still from In Defense Of Our Treaties

In Defense of our Treaties

by Martha Stiegman
Follows the Bear River First Nation as they stand up to pressure from the Department of Fisheries (DFO) to sell their treaty rights.
2008  ·  20m  ·  Canada
About the Film
In Defense of our Treaties, follows the struggle of Bear River First Nation as they stand up to pressure from the Department of Fisheries (DFO) to sell their treaty rights for a ticket into the commercial fisheries. For the Mi’kmaq, fishing is a right that comes from the Creator, and is protected by the Treaties. In 1999, the Supreme Court recognized those rights, and DFO has signed agreements with 32 of the 34 First Nations in the region. The deals offer money to buy into the commercial fisheries, as long as the Mi’kmaq fish under DFO’s jurisdiction. That’s not good enough for Bear River, one of two communities refusing to sign.
Upcoming Screenings

Stay tuned for upcoming screenings!

Martha Stiegman
Martha Stiegman and Sherry Pictou
Sound Editor
Anthu Vu and Andrea-Jane Cornell
Martha Stiegman
Editing Consultants
Frédéric Moffet, Liz Miller and Gwynne Basen
Color Correction
Anthu Vu
Story Consultants
Wanda Joudry-Finigan, Bubby Harlowe, Robie McEwan, Chief Frank Meuse Jr., Dusty Meuse and Sherry Pictou
Film Related
About the Director

Martha Stiegman

Martha Stiegman

Martha Stiegman is a passionate and engaged community-media and documentary filmmaker who shares the lives and struggles of the people she films with. Currently based in Halifax, her work has screened in festivals around the world from Tunisia and New Zealand to Brazil.

Her first two documentaries, In Defense of our Treaties (2007) and The End of the Line (2007) explore alliances between Mi’kmaq and non-native fishing communities in her home province of Nova Scotia. She is curently directing, Honour Your Word which follows two young leaders in the Barriere Lake Algonquins’ fight to protect their ancestral lands; and K’at, documenting the importantce of eel fishing for the Mi’kmaq community of Paq’tnkek First Nation. Indigenous struggles and non-native solidarity have been the focus of Martha’s film work, community-arts practice and academic reseach for more than six years.

She holds a joint doctorate in Communications Studies and Political Science from Concordia University, exploring dynamics of Mi’kmaq Treaty Rights Recognition in Nova Scotia.

Other films by Martha Stiegman