5 July 2013
ABORIGINAL JUSTICE: Elsipogtog Warrior Chief John Levi remanded to
Chief John Levi was remanded to custody this morning on
allegations of breach of probation, due to recent, suspicious criminal charges
filed against him.
Levi had invited CPT’s Aboriginal Justice Team to
accompany local efforts to stop shale gas exploration on Elsipogtog traditional
lands. A team has been present since
Sunday 28 June, with more CPTers scheduled to arrive Saturday.
According to trusted sources within the community, the
underlying probation stems from a conviction of fishing without a license on
the Elsipogtog Reserve, Levi’s home territory, in 2011. He is now facing two additional criminal
charges, Mischief and Obstruction, due to allegations stemming from actions on 21
June, Aboriginal Day.
On that day,
the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) arrested twelve people
who were protesting seismic testing in preparation for shale gas exploration on
Elsipogtog traditional lands in Kent County, New Brunswick. Officers neither arrested nor issued a citation
to Levi on that day. Instead, his probation
officer summoned him Thursday 4 July, informing him that the RCMP had filed a breach
of probation petition against him and that he must appear in court on Friday, 5
July 2013. The RCMP officer who filed
the criminal charges against Levi is the same officer who arrested and
confiscated the phone and camera of Media Co-op Journalist Miles Howe
on 4 July, and charged him with “uttering threats” and obstructing justice.
|Demonstrators at site of Howe’s arrest|
Approximately fifty people from Elsipogtog travelled
to the site of Howe’s arrest Thursday afternoon and picked berries on the side
of the road in a public display to assert Elsipogtog inherent rights to be on
the land, in the face of RCMP and industrial development. The group also danced and drummed
while waving the Mi’kmaq flag in front of RCMP trucks parked at the at the head
of a road that leads to where exploration continues for shale gas.
John Levi has been an important part of
the Mi’kmaq community leadership involved in peaceful resistance to New
Brunswick’s shale gas industry, along with Chief Aaron Sock, Elsipogtog First
Nation, and Peacekeeping Director Wendall Nicholas.
A bail hearing for Levi is scheduled for Monday.