Sacred fire is lit at junction of highways 126 and 116 West. Photo by Miles Howe.
The Halifax Media Co-op reports, “A sacred fire, which must burn continuously and be monitored for four days, has been lit by Mi’kmaq peoples from all corners of traditional Mi’kma’ki, who have gathered in the New Brunswick community of Elsipogtog. They, as well as non-Indigenous peoples from the local communities and beyond, have now begun to congregate in a field – with permission given by the owner – adjacent to the junction of highway 126 and highway 116 west.”The article highlights, “The gathering is directly in the path of seismic testing trucks – or ‘thumpers’ – that are conducting geological surveying on behalf of SWN Resources Canada. …Elsipogotg war chief John Levi has noted that the gathering will remain peaceful, but that the seismic testing will not be allowed to continue past the sacred fire.” He says, “We’re not going to let them pass. This is the reason why we’ve set up. We’ve made our sacred fire. We’re going to stand our ground here. This would be the spot here, so we’re asking for support from all non-Native and Native peoples.” The thumper trucks have been entering traditional Mi’kma’ki territory known as Signigtog or District 6. APTN has reported, “SWN Resources Canada is one of the largest companies involved in shale gas exploration in the province. Many Mi’kmaq and Maliseet are opposed to the exploration, saying that it will eventually lead to ‘fracking’ and cause serious harm to the environment, especially water. First Nations also say there was insufficient consultation done by the province.” Earlier this week, two Mi’kmaq women – Lorraine Clair and Susanne Patles – were arrested while engaged in prayer along highway 126. It was reported that Patles had scattered a line of tobacco between herself and the approaching police, then proceeded to draw a circle of tobacco in the highway, where she then knelt and began to pray. After about two minutes, the police arrested her. Last week, three people were arrested including a 16-year-old. The Council of Canadians extends its full solidarity with these protests. The Fredericton chapter has been present at the demonstrations. Atlantic organizer Angela Giles has sent a message to the Elsipogotg war chief that states, “We share your grave concerns about the impacts of fracking on water, the need to protect Mother Earth and support use of your treaty rights. Every community has a right to say no to fracking.” Giles plans to visit the sacred fire gathering tomorrow. For more, please read: “We’ve made our sacred fire. We’re going to stand our ground here.” UPDATE: Fredericton chapter joins highway protest against fracking trucks NEWS: Elsipogtog First Nation activists stop fracking truck in New Brunswick