Rallying to Support Elsipogtog First Nation
THUNDER BAY – The first fires were five RCMP Cruisers. Now across the country First Nations are rallying with Sacred Fires, meetings and discussions on a grassroots level to support the First Nation community of Elsipogtog in Rexton New Brunswick.
In Thunder Bay a small rally was held, and organizers plan on lighting a Sacred Fire in support of the people of Elsipogtog.
In Treaty Three, the Iskatewizagaagen First Nation (SL #39) are lighting a Sacred Fire at the junction of Shoal Lake Road and the Trans Canada Highway.
Forty Arrests in Rexton
The moves earlier today by the RCMP in Rexton have resulted in a reported forty arrests. First Nations across Canada are seeing the move as denying their rights, and ignoring their responsibilities.
In New Brunswick tonight, the police reportedly have set up check-stops and are working to prevent Mi’kmaq Warriors from arriving on the protest site.
In Winnipeg, Idle No More supporters are marching down Portage Avenue.
AFN Steps in
Assembly of First Nations Chief Shawn Atleo has written New Brunswick Premier David Alward. “I am writing about the urgent situation unfolding today in Elsipogtog First Nation, where a peaceful protest of shale gas exploration by SWN Resources Canada has been disrupted through police and military intervention. The images and actions we have seen and that have been reported are deeply disturbing and completely unacceptable.
“As you know, due to your own personal involvement in the creation of a working group to resolve this conflict, leadership from Elsipogtog First Nation have engaged in good faith negotiations towards a peaceful resolution. The actions of police this morning have been completely unacceptable and are an extreme use of state force and control over First Nation citizens and territories,” wrote the National Chief.
“In June 2013, Chief Arren Sock called for a moratorium on shale gas exploration and development to allow for engagement and consultation,” continued Atleo. “I call upon you to take all actions to immediately cease this intervention and restore dialogue with leadership. The safety and security of our citizens is our foremost concern at this time, including children, women and the elderly that have found themselves on the front lines of this conflict”.
The Prime Minister has not commented on the situation. Prime Minister Harper is in Europe to sign a free-trade agreement. Minister of Aboriginal Affairs Valcourt has not commented officially.