Four carloads of supporters came up from Halifax Regional Municipality, with a couple of other carloads from across Nova Scotia. Similar numbers came from PEI. And countless cars from all corners of New Brunswick lined the sides of Route 116 at Elsipogtog’s encampment at the Sacred Fire in Kent County, NB, for Saturday’s “Summer of Solidarity” event.
Approximately 300 people (including members of the Council of Canadians chapters in Fredericton, Saint John, and the South Shore in the form of Board member Marion Moore) joined in to listen to speeches and show support for the fight happening in Kent County against SWN, the provincial government and apparently the RCMP.
Alma Brooks started us off by reading a declaration of unity and solidarity from the Maliseet Grand Council. Over 25 groups from around the province spoke at the event, briefly outlining concerns on various aspects of the shale gas/fracking industry.
I was honoured to be amoung the speakers. After thanking the Elsipogtog First Nation for taking such a lead role, and other groups and individuals – particularly those involved with the NBEN shale gas caucus – for the work they have been doing for the past 2.5 years, I spoke briefly of the win in Debert, Colchester County, NS. The decision to not allow AIS to dump “treated” fracking waste into the Debert sewer system and on to the Bay of Fundy raises the question of where all of this fracking waste will go. It seems no one has answered this question.
After all of the speeches, there was beautiful music including traditional Mi’kmaq and Maliseet songs, and a feast with lots of lively conversation amoungst allies and friends.
Elsipogtog’s Warrior Chief John Levi’s presence was missed at the gathering. Details on his arrest here.
Read an update on his release after this morning’s hearing in Moncton here.
Upriver Environment Watch, the other community group also directly impacted by SWN’s seismic testing so far, put on a fundraiser Saturday evening in nearby Fords Mills. The musical event (with a silent auction) raised 3700$ towards the legal fund.
Every road trip is an adventure and this was no exception. Many other shenanigans took place over the weekend, including swimming in the beautiful Northumberland, supping with NOFRAC ally Ken Summers and his partner Pat at their campsite, sleeping at Peter and Pamela’s 150-year old Acadian home in Rogersville (we had planned to stay at the encampment but I forgot my tent poles) – thanks to them for hosting Marion and I!
Sunday we were back at the encampment. It was a much quieter day; a great day for reflection, learning from Mi’kmaq elders and friends, and offerings to the Sacred Fire. A bear had been to the camp through the night on Friday, but wasn’t around Saturday night, so many seemed a little more well-rested. A few of the 25+ tents at the encampment were being packed up, their reluctant owners heading back to their homes for the start of another week.
And then the news that the trucks had been located. The news spread quickly and several people jumped in their cars to be a part of the action; everyone playing an important role in stopping SWN from completing their testing. Or at least delaying them for another day. J
Next week several trainings will be taking place on site, thanks to the Aboriginal Rights Coalition – Atlantic, The Council of Canadians and Philippe Duhamel, an organizer and facilitator from Quebec. For more information on this, please be in touch with me ASAP as registration is required and space is limited.