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Mi’kmaq speaking tour in BC begins on Jan. 24

The Georgia Straight reports, “First Nations protesters who took part in last fall’s anti-fracking protests in Elsipogtog, New Brunswick, are leading a speaking tour through British Columbia and the Yukon. Suzanne Patles and other member of the Mi’kmaq Warriors Society are scheduled to arrive in Vancouver on January 24 for the first of seven stops through the west.”

Susanne Patles. Photo by Miles Howe
Photo by Miles Howe.

“In a telephone interview, Patles described the Elsipogtog standoff as part of a larger struggle that’s shared by B.C. First Nations who oppose developments like pipelines proposed for the Alberta tar sands (also known as the oil sands). ‘We are all being systematically displaced within our own traditional territories’, Patles explained. ‘Once they destroy our territories and these resource companies are gone, we will be the ones left with destroyed land and poisoned water.'”

“Patles said that many First Nations groups have made it clear they oppose oil and natural gas developments regardless of the economic benefits promised by the government and corporations. ‘Fracking is an important issue, but it is not only fracking’, she said. ‘This is also about pipelines. There are going to be pipelines coming through all of our territories, and it is important that we realize that we have original title to the land, and that with anything that comes through our territories, the government and these corporations require our consent in order to proceed.'”

The speaking tour is being supported by numerous groups including the Council of Canadians, the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, Idle No More, the Simon Fraser Public Interest Research Group, Rising Tide and Earthworks.

For a list of these speaking events on the West Coast, please see here.

Further reading
Council supports Mi’kmaq speaking tour against fracking in Pacific region