When non-Natives harassed Mi’kmaq fishermen, he offered the aboriginals his land. When federal authorities confiscated their lobster traps, he bought them new ones. When fishermen needed a place to stash their gear, he let them do it on his property.
Lobster dealer Mande Joseph (Joe) Blinn earned the trust and friendship of aboriginals in Novia Scotia as an advocate and a supporter of their fishing rights throughout the late 1990s and the 2000s. Today he is being remembered for those and other kindnesses after his death on August 17, age 76.
"In our community, everybody’s going to remember Joe. They’re going to talk about him for a very long time," Alex McDonald, a former chief and current councilor for the Shubenacadie band at Indian Brook, told The Chronicle Herald. "He’s touched a lot of natives in a good way."
They met during conflicts over fishing rights, McDonald recalled. Provoked by the presence of Shubenacadie band members lobster fishing in St. Mary’s Bay, local non-Native fishermen harassed them. Blinn offered them sanctuary, and "next thing you know, he’s got 75 natives staying at his (lobster) pound, camping out,” McDonald told The Chronicle Herald.
He was like that, also visiting native families after a death, and going out of his way on a number of other issues.
"We’re human beings like everybody else, and this individual treated us like human beings," McDonald said.
Read more about the Mi’kmaq.