Since June of 2013 the Elsipogtog First Nation community, in New Brunswick, Canada, has gathered on Highway 11 to protest peacefully against the seismic testing conducted by a subsidiary of Houston-based Southwestern Energy Co (SWE). Several violent clashes between the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and First Nation people have erupted and SWE has ended their testing until 2015. AlJazeera’s “Fault Lines” went to Mi’kmaq territory, to find out what happens when a First Nation says no to fracking.
Elsipogtog: The Fire Over Water
The company had received rights to explore for shale gas by the province of New Brunswick.
A video report from Al Jazeera’s Faultlines, Dec 6, 2013.
The raid carried out by police, with dogs and automatic weapons, turned to chaos as residents of the Elsipogtog First Nation arrived to confront them. Police pepper sprayed the elders and fired sock rounds to control the crowd. Six police vehicles were set ablaze, and some 40 people were arrested.
It was the most spectacular eruption yet, of a struggle led by indigenous people to protect the land they say they have never ceded and water they consider sacred – a struggle that grew quietly for three years, and shows no sign of slowing down.
A Houston-based energy company, SWN Resources Canada, facing ferocious resistance from a Mi’kmaq-led coalition, has ended its shale gas exploration work until 2015, says Elsipogtog War Chief John Levi.
“We can’t allow any drilling, we didn’t allow them to do the testing from the beginning,” said Levi. – APTN
Clash between protesters and the RCMP.
Fault Lines travelled to New Brunswick to ask why their fight caught fire, and find out what happens when Canada’s First Nations say no to resource extraction projects they oppose.
More from Indian Country Today Media Network