With close to 50 people in attendance this past Saturday, it’s hard to believe we were able to complete a very full agenda in one day! Many powerful and inspirational moments and conversations happened throughout the day, with committed participants and allies who are so passionate about protecting the land, air and water for today and the future.
We were first honoured with a welcome from Dr. Isabelle Knockwood, along with some words from our host Chief Rufus Copage and meeting organizer Dorene Bernard. Discussion on local issues included a presentation by local fisherman Darren Porter on tidal power and how a proposed project for the Midas Basin will impact the fishery, along with Valerie and Colin Hawks on the Alton Gas storage project moving through NS approvals currently.
Sipekne’katik Warrior Chief Jim Maloney, Wolastoq Grand Council Chief Ron Tremblay, and elder Dr. Isabelle Knockwood. (Photo credit: Dorene Bernard)
Wolastoq Grandmother Alma Brooks read their Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth, modeled on initiatives by Indigenous people in the South (here is one example, created at the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in Cochabamba, Bolivia).
There were updates on several New Brunswick items from prior Peace and Friendship Alliance meetings as well, including on the Mount Carleton snowmobile trail proposal (on sacred traditional meeting place for Wolastoq and Mi’kmaq), the NB Water Strategy, and a Wolastoq adaptation of the Blanket Exercise (created by KAIROS).
The Peace and Friendship Alliance decided to have a Nova Scotia entity as a sister to the New Brunswick group, with the next meeting planned for Saturday June 04th again in Indian Brook. The hope is for this group to meet once every month, and then for the NB and NS groups to come together for a joint meeting at least once every year.
Group photo! In solidarity with Attawapiskat. (Photo credit: Tori Ball)
Wela’liek to Dorene Bernard, Chief Rufus Copage along with the Sipekne’katik (Indian Brook) Council and community for hosting, welcoming and feeding us! And to elders Dr. Isabelle Knockwood, Wolastoq Grand Council Chief Ron Tremblay, Wolastoq Grandmother Alma Brooks, as well as Maggie Connell for facilitating and many others for your contributions at the meeting. Much love and respect – Wela’liek, woliwon, merci, thank you!!