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Special Issue: The Marshall Decisions, New Brunswick & Atlantic Canada 25 years later


The Journal of New Brunswick Studies/ Revue d’études sur le Nouveau-Brunswick
( is a forum for ideas and debate about the province and its place in wider Canadian and global contexts. Scholars of Indigenous rights,
fisheries/natural resources management, Crown-Indigenous-settler relations, and public policy are invited to submit abstracts for a special issue dedicated to exploring the 1999 Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) Marshall decisions and its impact on New Brunswick and the rest of Atlantic Canada 25 years later.

What we know as New Brunswick today has been carved out of the traditional unceded territory of the Wolastoqiyik, Mi’kmaq, and Peskotomuhkati peoples. This territory is covered by the “Treaties of Peace and Friendship” which these nations first signed with the British Crown in 1725. The treaties did not deal with the surrender of lands and resources, but in fact recognized Mi’kmaq and Wolastoqiyik title and established the rules for what was to be an ongoing relationship between nations.

2024 is the 25th anniversary of the Marshall decisions which affirmed First Nations’ treaty right to fish, hunt, and gather in pursuit of a moderate livelihood in Canada. To explore what we have learned 25 years later, we need to illuminate understandings of the Peace & Friendship Treaties, who Donald Marshall, Jr., the person, was both before and after the landmark decisions, and competing understandings of the SCC’s rulings. It is through this grounding that we can explore the conflict that followed the decisions, the racism and injustices that continue to this day, as well as the policy responses, including the Initial and Longer-term Marshall Response Initiatives in 2000 and 2001, the Atlantic Integrated Commercial Fisheries Initiative in 2007, and the Rights Reconciliation Agreements in 2017. Looking forward, we need to assess the economic and employment impacts and unravel the concept of “moderate livelihood”. Through this special issue, we seek a holistic understanding of where we are today by examining the journey taken post-Marshall to date, and the opportunities and challenges that lay before us as we move forward. 

We acknowledge that key understandings and knowledge is held by a diverse set of individuals and welcome contributions from scholars, Indigenous leaders, politicians, administrators, and graduate students, among others. A variety of contributions are sought ranging from traditional academic papers to “conversations with the guest editors” for inclusion as edited interviews.

Contributions can be in English and French, with a Mi’kmaq submission option forthcoming, and focus on the following substantive areas, but certainly not limited to:

1. Understanding Donald Marshall, Jr.
     a. both before and after the 1999 SCC Marshall decisions

2. Making sense of the Peace & Friendship Treaties
     a. understanding the historical treaties

     b. Crown-Indigenous relations focusing on the historical treaties

     c. Indigenous-Acadian relations

3. The Marshall decisions
     a. Indigenous interpretations of the Marshall decisions

     b. federal fisheries framework/role

     c. provincial (NB, NS, PEI, NL) - First Nations relations

     d. the Marshall decisions and other natural resources

     e. the role of science (Western, Traditional Ecological Knowledge) in fisheries

4. Post-Marshall decisions - short-term
     a. Esgenoôpetitj/Burnt Church past and present

     b. policing Atlantic fisheries post-2000

     c. post-Marshall policy approaches & agreements - successes and failures

5. Post-Marshall decisions - long-term
     a. exploring/defining the concept of “moderate livelihood” and other outstanding

     b. impact of the Marshall decisions on development of Indigenous fisheries

     c. impact of the Marshall decisions on Indigenous economic development and

6. Continued racism and (in)justice surrounding the Marshall decisions

7. Lessons from Indigenous fisheries from other countries

The guest editors will choose a selection of contributions for inclusion in a special issue with authors participating in a workshop in the autumn of 2022 or winter of 2023. If you are interested in contributing to this special issue, please submit your proposal with author name(s) and affiliation(s), title, and up to a 300-word abstract, along with a brief biography, to by September 1st, 2022. If your proposal is selected for inclusion, you will be asked to submit a first draft of your 7,000 to 8,000-word manuscript for the guest editors’ internal review and comments by February 15th, 2023, followed by a revised version by August 1st, 2023. All papers will then go through the Journal’s standard external peer review process before final acceptance.

We look forward to receiving your ideas!

Hon. Graydon Nicholas, Dr. Ken Coates, Dr. Mario Levesque
Guest Editors, Special Issue: The Marshall Decisions
Journal of New Brunswick Studies/Revue d’études sur le Nouveau-Brunswick