Fishing in Contested Waters: Place & Community in Burnt Church/Esgenoopetitj

Fishing in Contested Waters: Place & Community in Burnt Church/Esgenoopetitj

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By Sarah J. King
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division © 2014
World Rights
224 Pages 4 Images
ISBN 9781442610965
Published Dec 2013
Online discount: 25%
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ISBN 9781442641761
Published Dec 2013
Online discount: 25%
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ebook (EPUB format)
ISBN 9781442668447
Published Dec 2013
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After the Supreme Court of Canada’s 1999 Marshall decision recognized Mi’kmaw fishers’ treaty right to fish, the fishers entered the inshore lobster fishery across Atlantic Canada. At Burnt Church/Esgenoôpetitj, New Brunswick, the Mi’kmaw fishery provoked violent confrontations with neighbours and the Canadian government. Over the next two years, boats, cottages, and a sacred grove were burned, people were shot at and beaten, boats rammed and sunk, roads barricaded, and the local wharf occupied.

Based on 12 months of ethnographic field work in Burnt Church/Esgenoôpetitj, Fishing in Contested Waters explores the origins of this dispute and the beliefs and experiences that motivated the locals involved in it. Weaving the perspectives of Native and non-Native people together, Sarah J. King examines the community as a contested place, simultaneously Mi’kmaw and Canadian. Drawing on philosophy and indigenous, environmental, and religious studies, Fishing in Contested Waters demonstrates the deep roots of contemporary conflicts over rights, sovereignty, conservation, and identity.

Sarah J. King is an assistant professor in the Liberal Studies Department at Grand Valley State University.

List of Figures



Chapter 1 Introduction: Re-membering Burnt Church

Chapter 2 “Those Relationships Became Countries”

Chapter 3 Contested Place

Chapter 4 Seeking Justice: Rights and Religion in the Dispute

Chapter 5 Conservation Talk: Negotiating Power and Place

Chapter 6 The Canadian Way





Fishing in Contested Waters is a rich and sensitive portrayal of the two ‘Burnt Churches’ which together experienced the aftermath of the Marshall decision. Focussed around the issues of religion and place, the author delves deeply into how these two communities, one English, the other Mi’kmaq, responded to the Marshall decision of 1999, how they understood the decision differently, and how the resulting violence tore their communities apart. Using interviews she conducted while living in the community, King portrays how the residents perceived and reacted to the events of 1999 and 2000.”

William Wicken, Department of History, York University

“Sarah King’s book is an ambitious interdisciplinary study of the Burnt Church conflict. Integrating social science and philosophical analyses, it advances a phenomenological description of the conflict. Fishing in Contested Waters will be of interest to philosophers concerned with conflict resolution, and scholars in Native Studies.”

Bruce Morito, Centre for Global and Social Analysis, Athabasca University