Indigenous Peoples Solidarity

ABORIGINAL JUSTICE: Elsipogtog: Patience is a virtue

ABORIGINAL JUSTICE: Elsipogtog: Patience is a virtue

Standing at the BlockadeEntering its second week, the blockade at the Southwestern Energy Resources (SWN) “thumper” compound on Route 134 near Rexton, New Brunswick shows no signs of ending.

First Peoples from Elsipogtog and other communities, as well as Acadian and Anglophone protectors, make up the encampment. CPTers Chris Sabas and Carrie Peters also remain within the encampment, enjoying brief respites off site thanks to the generosity of local community members. Donated food and supplies continue to arrive at the encampment.

Elsipogtog: Blockade Begins

On Sunday, 29 September 2013, Elsipogtog women protectors blocked the entrance to a recently constructed compound housing Southwestern Energy Resources Canada (SWN) equipment on local Highway 134, near present-day Rexton, New Brunswick.  The compound is located on Elsipogtog traditional territory, which is unceded land.

Within minutes they were joined by other indigenous protectors, as well as Acadian and Anglophone community members. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) attempted to re-secure the entrance to the compound, but the unarmed protectors successfully stood their ground. An encampment was erected. At the time of this release, the blockade has entered its fifth day. All SWN property within the compound remains untouched and unmolested.

Aboriginal Justice: Breaking News - CPT invited to accompany delegation to Britain

Indigenous and faith leaders in Canada have invited Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) to accompany a delegation to Britain from 2-9 October, 2013, marking the Royal Proclamation of 1763.

The Proclamation of King George III was an attempt following the Seven Year's War to set policy for the new British territories in North America. The proclamation is significant for recognising a form of territorial sovereignty for First Peoples, including the Crown's need to secure consent for future settlement or expansion.

Although the Canadian Constitution recognises “existing aboriginal and treaty rights,” the government continues to neglect the need for consent for projects affecting First Nations peoples, contributing to widespread land-rights violations.

In the United States, the protection from predatory settlement offered by the Royal Proclamation was one of the causes for the American Revolution, as settlers broke away from imperial Britain to pursue expansion unfettered by agreements with the First Peoples.

Mi'kmaq campaigners involved in the current resistance to shale gas extraction recently referenced the Royal Proclamation in an official request for the Queen's intervention. The team will support this call, and connect with UK anti-fracking campaigners.

#GIVINGTUESDAY It was important that CPT was able to send representatives on short notice after it received the invitation from indigenous leaders.  We need to have a reserve of funds so that we can respond to requests such as these.  They go a long way toward building alliances and trust.

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CPT INTERNATIONAL: CPT Americas Convergence to participate in School of the Americas witness at Fort Benning, 20-24 November

 

Join us this November for the first ever CPT Americas Convergence in Georgia, USA.   CPTers and supporters from Turtle Island (North America) to the Southern Cone will gather for five days of formative events including worship, public protest, fellowship, accompaniment, and the opportunity for nonviolent direct action Wednesday, 20 November through Sunday, 24 November 2013.  

CPT will partner with the Alterna Community and former Steering Committee member Anton Flores-Maisonet, based in LaGrange, GA to participate in an annual public witness and civil disobedience action at the Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin.   Stewart, a privately run prison, is the largest immigrant detention center in the United States. Alterna and Georgia Detention Watch have long monitored this facility, documenting violations of human rights and detention standards and organizing vigils to remember the detainees trapped there as well as Roberto Martínez Medina who died while in detention at Stewart.

Following the witness in Lumpkin, CPT will join thousands gathered at the gates of Ft. Benning in Columbus, GA to call for the closure of the infamous U.S. Army School of the Americas (SOA).  Since 1946, this “School of Assassins” has trained over 64,000 Latin American soldiers in counterinsurgency techniques, psychological warfare, military intelligence, and interrogation tactics.  SOA graduates have consistently used their skills to wage a war against their own people, targeting educators, union organizers, religious workers, student leaders, and others who work for the rights of the poor.   They have tortured, raped, “disappeared,” assassinated, and massacred hundreds and thousands of Latin Americans.   Although the official name changed in 2001 from SOA to WHINSEC (Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation), the school under any name is synonymous with torture and impunity.

Prayers for Peacemakers, 13 September 2013

 

Epixel* for 15 September 2013
 You would confound the plans of the poor, but the LORD is their refuge
Psalm 14:6
.
*epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing
with a text from the upcoming Sunday's Revised Common Lectionary
readings.

Prayers for Peacemakers, 13 September 2013

Pray that the governing bodies of Canada, New Brunswick, and the Southwestern Energy (SWN) corporation recognize the historic right of the Original Peoples of the Wabanaki-Mi’gmag District of Signigtog to evict SWN from their unceded lands and demand compensation for the damage its operations have caused.

 

Related Stories:

ABORIGINAL JUSTICE: Wabanaki-Mi’gmag District of Signigtog issues historic directive to SWN


ABORIGINAL JUSTICE: "We do not accept the unacceptable" –Elsipogtog First Nation media release


ABORIGINAL JUSTICE: "We do not accept the unacceptable" –Elsipogtog First Nation media release

September 6, 2013 at 1:36pm
Elsipogtog First Nation, New Brunswick

The Original People of the Wabanaki-Mi'gmag District of Signigtog have, for the first time in known history, used their collective authority to stop shale gas activity in New Brunswick.  Based in Elsipogtog, together with allies from Acadian, Anglophone and First Peoples' communities, the Signigtog Grand Council and Collective Community of Concerned Members of Signigtog have issued a directive to shale gas developer Southwestern Energy (SWN) to stop all shale gas activities, leave the territory, and compensate the people for harm caused by their operations.

Kenneth Francis of Signigtog said, “Creator made us caretakers of Mother Earth.  Our goal as the Collective Community of Concerned Members of Signigtog is to protect Mother Earth because we're killing her.  She's already endured too much.  We will lose our clean water if we sit back and allow what the shale gas companies are planning on doing in Signigtog.  What they are planning is unacceptable.  We do not accept the unacceptable.”

Directive available here.

ABORIGINAL JUSTICE: Wabanaki-Mi’gmag District of Signigtog issues historic directive to SWN

The Original Peoples of the Wabanaki-Mi’gmag District of Signigtog (of which the Elsipogtog community is a part) asserted their authority over the lands and waterways affected by proposed shale gas exploration by issuing SouthWestern Energy Resources (“SWN”) a Directive on Friday, 30 August 2013.

When European explorers first landed in what is now the Canadian Atlantic Province of New Brunswick, they encountered a vast, multi-faceted nation of aboriginal peoples known collectively as the Mi’gmag.  The Mi’gmag consist of more than a dozen bands, one of which is Elsipogtog First Nation, located in traditional Mi’gmag territory known as Signigtog—or District Six.

The Mi’gmag territory was divided into seven traditional "districts."  Each district had its own independent government and boundaries.  The independent governments had a district chief and a council, or Grand Council.  The district council members were band chiefs, elders, and other community leaders. The district council was in essence an independent government that enacted laws, ran a judicial system, apportioned fishing and hunting grounds, engaged in war and sued for peace.

ABORIGINAL JUSTICE: CPT delegation attends Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School Commemoration gathering


DSCN3526

Imagine a people, devastated by the idea that white society had the right to take native children from their parents.  Imagine a government using these malnourished children as test subjects in nutritional experiments.  This history is the truth of the Indian Residential School system and what we learned on the site of Cecilia Jeffrey, once a Presbyterian-run Residential School.

Starting in the nineteenth Century, the government took native children in Canada away from their families and sent them to Roman Catholic, Protestant, and Mennonite Residential Schools.  School administrators gave them different names, forbade them to speak their own language, and did not allow them to see their parents.

ABORIGINAL JUSTICE: Join delegation to sovereign Elsipogtog First Nation 27 September - 7 October 2013

From time immemorial, the peoples of the sovereign Mi’kmaq territory of Signigtog have lived upon their traditional lands with their own governments, political systems, language, culture, spirituality, and diverse means of livelihood.  They have never surrendered their sovereignty or jurisdiction over their lands.



In 1701, the British Crown began to sign Peace and Friendship Treaties with the Mi'kmaq, Maliseet, Passamaquoddy, and Penobscot First Peoples to end hostilities and encourage cooperation between the British and First Peoples.  The Peace and Friendship Treaties recognize Aboriginal sovereignty and title to the lands they traditionally use and occupy.  What is now called Crown Land in the Province of New Brunswick is unceded land and subject to Mi’kmaq jurisdiction.

On 14 May 2012, the Band Council of Elsipogtog First Nation, a Mi'kmaq community, passed a resolution opposing shale gas exploration and development within Elsipogtog First Nation and the Province of New Brunswick, citing concerns about the environment and the need for direct consultation by the Crown.  On 30 May 2013, the Mi'kmaq Grand Council of the Signigtog District 6 issued a public notice prohibiting all “shale gas exploration and/or development” without the “expressed written consent and full participation of the Mi'kmaq Grand Council and the Mi'kmaq people of the Signigtog District.”

This delegation will replace the delegation originally scheduled to go to Grassy Narrows during these dates.

FUNDRAISING EXPECTATION: $625 (Cdn or USD). Delegates arrange and pay for their own transportation to  Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada.

Click here to apply. 

ABORIGINAL JUSTICE: SWN temporarily halts seismic testing at Elsipogtog

Elsipogtog First Nation protectors and SWN Resources Canada (‘SWN’) have reached an understanding that has resulted in an apparent temporary cessation of seismic testing.

 
 Elsipogtog Warrior Chief John Levi
 Photo: Miles Howe

Representatives of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (‘RCMP’), Warrior Chief John Levi, former Elsipogtog Band Chief Susan Levi, District Warrior Chief “Seven,” Elsipogtog Peacekeepers and other community members held a meeting on 30 July with SWN.  SWN will detonate several un-exploded shot holes located on seismic Line 5, but agreed not to continue seismic testing and to remove the rest of their equipment. 

The police will dismiss criminal charges against twenty-five of the thirty-five people arrested since non-violent direct actions began in June.  Community members gave SWN until Friday 2 August to complete the agreed upon tasks.  A team of observers from the Elsipogtog community, including eight scouts, three Grandmothers and two Elsipogtog Peacekeepers accompanied SWN workers to monitor operations.  SWN said it would return mid-September to continue seismic testing along seismic Lines 3 and 4.