Elsipogtog Resistance to Fracking

Before Confederation, the indigenous communities in what would become the province of New Brunswick signed Peace and Friendship treaties with the Crown. These laid a framework for cooperation without the indigenous peoples surrendering their land or rights.

In May of 2012, the Elsipogtog band council passed a resolution opposing all “shale gas exploration and development within Elsipogtog First Nation and within the Province of New Brunswick.”

Through the spring, summer and autumn of 2013, a coalition of Mi'kmaq, Acadian, Anglophone and allied protectors of the land worked to protest, document, oppose and block the development of shale gas fracking in Mi'kmaq territory.

In June, Christian Peacemaker Teams sent an emergency delegation to investigate the situation: report

This delegation led to an on-site presence of fulltime and reservist CPTers.

The resistance community faced obstacles from policing, including the prosecution of individuals identified as leaders.

July 7 Release: Fasting for forgiveness and protection

July 15 Release: A week with the Elsipogtog anti-fracking resistance

July 25 Release: Protectors undo police oppression (video)

August 8 Release: Temporary halt to seismic testing

CPT's accompaniment took a variety of forms, including an international delegation from September 27 - October 7.

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. This compound was 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.

The blockade became a lasting presence and spurred a degree of cooperation from provincial leadership - October 13 Release: Patience is a virtue

However, ultimately it was forcibly dismantled with a police raid - October 18 Release: An Ugly Day in New Brunswick.

Following the dismantling of the blockage, CPT was advised by local partners to withdraw its team, and the accompaniment came to an end. However local protectors continue to face legal repercussion as the resistence takes a new form.


In late 2014, New Brunswick joined the list of regions and countries that have banned fracking: News Release