Indigenous Peoples Solidarity

ABORIGINAL JUSTICE: A week with the Elsipogtog anti-fracking resistance

In November 2010 Canada finally signed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which declares, “States will consult and obtain free, prior and informed consent for any project affecting the land, territory or resources of indigenous peoples.”  (Art.32-2)

Elsipogtog, a Mi’kmaq First Nation in New Brunswick, was not consulted and certainly do not consent to the seismic survey of their land in preparation for fracking for shale gas.  They have joined with equally concerned non-aboriginal residents in the area to stop the exploration.  Canadian police arrested thirty-three protestors in June.

On Sunday 30 June, Chris Sabas and I, representing the CPT Aboriginal Justice Team, arrived in Elsipogtog at the invitation of John Levi, leader at the Sacred Fire camp.  Colourful flags, abundant signage and a community of Indigenous, Acadian, and Anglo folk, welcomed us to their tent-city and the sacred fire.

 


Photo by Greg Cook SJ

Prayers for Peacemakers, July 13, 2013

Epixel* for July 14, 2013
"How long will you judge
unjustly and show
partiality to the wicked?…"
Psalm 82:2

Prayers for Peacemakers, June 13, 2013

Give thanks that Warrior Chief John Levi of Elsipogtog was released on his own recognizance on Monday after an arrest for probation violations stemming from a June 21 demonstration in which Canadian police had arrested other people, but had neither arrested nor cited him.  The arrest seemed designed to do harm to Levi’s standing in his community.

 

 

ABORIGINAL JUSTICE: Warrior Chief John Levi released from custody


John Levi

Chief John Levi (photo by Greg Cook SJ)

Warrior Chief John Levi is free on his own recognizance.  After a hearing held on the Crown’s request to have him remain incarcerated, the presiding Judge ordered his immediate release with the stipulation that he remain 100 meters away from SWN corporation equipment or any of its subcontractors’ machinery and equipment. 

Many native and non-native people packed the courtroom to show their support; court officials permitted people to stand in the back as the seats filled up.  When Levi's case was called, and as he entered the courtroom, people stood in unison.  His supporters had also done so on Friday, 5 July, at the initial hearing.  A different judge heard the matter today, and he ordered spectators to remain seated, saying he would clear the courtroom if they did not follow proper court decorum.

ALERTA DE ACCIĂ“N DE JUSTICIA INDĂŤGENA: Apoyen l@s ayunadores de la Reserva IndĂ­gena de Elsipogtog.


ALERTA DE ACCIĂ“N DE JUSTICIA INDĂŤGENA: Apoyen l@s ayunadores de la Reserva IndĂ­gena de Elsipogtog.

Miembros de la Reserva IndĂ­gena de Elsipogtog iniciaron un ayuno, incluyendo agua, que durará hasta el 9 de julio de 2013. El ayuno tiene como objetivo pedir protecciĂłn y perdĂłn a la Madre Tierra por el daño que las pruebas sĂ­smicas que adelanta la CorporaciĂłn SWN para la exploraciĂłn de gas de esquisto le hayan causado al agua y la tierra.  

L@s ayunadores le están pidiendo a l@s miembros de ECAP y otr@s simpatizantes que ayunen con ell@s, o que cuando consuman comidas y bebidas oren para fortalecer a l@s que están ayunando. La semana pasada la Policía canadiense arrestó al Jefe John Levi, uno de los líderes del movimiento contra la exploración de gas de esquisto en Elsipogtog, y a Miles Howe, un periodista que se encontraba informando sobre la protesta.

ABORIGINAL JUSTICE: Elsipogtog First Nation members begin fasting ceremonies for forgiveness and protection to last until 9 July 2013

 

At Milliea’s request, CPT Aboriginal Justice Team members Chris Sabas and Robin Buyers began an accompaniment of the fasting ceremonies deep in the New Brunswick bush on Saturday, July 6th. “The women are fasting for forgiveness for the damage caused to the Mother—the land and the water—by the [test] explosions,” said Milliea. “The men are fasting for protection.”

Participants are committed to going without food and water for twenty-four hours or more in spite of up to forty-degree (104-degree Fahrenheit) heat and high humidity. “Water is life,” explained Milliea. “When a person commits to giving up water, they give up their life.” A sip of water, which will conclude the fast, marks the return to life.

Water is at the centre of community resistance to the presence of SWN in Kent County. While concern has been growing about water contamination by shale gas exploration and development for several years, the start of seismic testing by SWN, and the damage to the land that has resulted, has escalated tensions. Police presence in the region is highly visible.

At the same time, the Elsipogtog Mi’kmaq First Nation and their neighbours are building deeper alliances. While the fasting ceremonies took place in the bush, the Sacred Fire site hosted several hundred members of more than twenty faith and environmental groups for a 6 July rally and potluck.

…

Fasts will continue until 9 July 2013.  The Elsipogtog community asks CPTers and other allies to support the fast by choosing either to fast themselves, or to serve as helpers, prayerfully eating and drinking with the intention of strengthening those fasting by taking in nourishment on their behalf.

ABORIGINAL JUSTICE: Elsipogtog Warrior Chief John Levi remanded to custody

Elsipogtog Warrior 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.

 DSCN1902
 Demonstrators at site of Howe's arrest

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.

ABORIGINAL JUSTICE: Moccasins on the Ground—Lakota prepare to defend their people and land

 Moccasins 1 crop
 

Preparations for closing ceremony of Moccasins
on the Ground training, held near the place

where the Keystone XL pipeline is slated to cross
the Cheyenne River in violation of United States
treaty commitments.

The "Moccasins on the Ground Tour of Resistance," is training people from across the region and continent to protect land, water and life from threats presented by the proposed Keystone XL pipeline (KXL), intended to carry tar sands bitumen mixed with benzene and other chemicals from Alberta to Texas.

Christian Peacemaker Teams members Carol Rose and Duane Ediger supported the 14-16 June training on the Cheyenne River Reservation. Youth and elders, men and women, leaders of Lakota and other nations, including Winona LaDuke and Idle No More co-founder Nina Was'te Wilson, and a variety of allies engaged in prayer and participated in stories and workshops on tar sands, treaty and civil law, spiritually grounded resistance, media strategy, nonviolent action, abducted native women and sacred sites.

CPT INTERNATIONAL: Urgent invitations from Colombia, Elsipogtog and the Owe Aku--Can you help us respond?


A week ago, on 30 May 2013, we got word from Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) Colombia that Tito, one of the members of Las Pavas community in Colombia, had been attacked with machetes by workers for Aportes San Isidro, the palm oil company that has been trying to push the community of Las Pavas off their land for many years…



Tito (yellow and green shirt) taking
picture of security guard who had
ordered his men to shoot out tires of
Las Pavas's tractor.
 

This attack is an escalation of the pressure on this community that is deeply committed to nonviolence.  The Las Pavas leadership asked CPT to provide increased accompaniment for community members as they walk to and from their fields.  Our team on the ground is already stretched thin and they have made an appeal to CPT reservists to support them.  We have people ready to go to Colombia if we can raise the funds. Can you contribute $10 now to make this possible?…

This request is just one of four that CPT has received in the two weeks.  On 8 June 2013, our Aboriginal Justice team sent a group of reservists to New Brunswick, Canada in response to an invitation 48 hours earlier from Elsipogtog First Nation. Mi'kmaq and Maliseet peoples have been using creative Nonviolent Direct Action to stop shale gas exploration on their traditional lands, including peacefully blockading a truck hired by the exploration company, SWN Resources Canada.

ELSIPOGTOG FRACKING PROTEST UPDATE: 9-14 June 2013

“The role of the warrior chief is to protect the land, the water and the people.  Our only weapons are our drums, our sweetgrasses, our pipes, and our ceremonies.  We are nonviolent.”

This description was how John Levi, warrior chief of the Elsipogtog First Nation, explained his role to an emergency CPT exploratory delegation to his New Brunswick Mi’kmaq community located north of Moncton.

The Elsipogtog First Nation and non-Aboriginal landowners in Kent County, New Brunswick are fighting to stop shale gas exploration by SWN Resources.  They are concerned fracking will lead to the depletion of groundwater and widespread water contamination.

Fracking is a slang term for the process of digging deep wells (up to two miles) into the earth and injecting water under high pressure laden with industrial chemicals to fracture shale.  The procedure releases otherwise inaccessible deposits of natural gas.

Each frack uses millions of gallons of water laden with hundreds of different chemicals.  Resource companies have not had to disclose the types of chemicals they are using because of patent protections.  Scientists have identified volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene.

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ABORIGINAL JUSTICE: CPT to support nonviolence training for Lakota Nations as they prepare to resist XL pipeline


In response to a request from the Owe Aku (Bring Back the Way) International Justice Project, Christian Peacemaker Teams is renewing a relationship with Lakota communities by sending a pair of peacemakers to support a nonviolent direct action training on the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota 14-16 June.




posted by Debra White Plume
March 2013

Alberta-based TransCanada Corporation has proposed building the Keystone XL pipeline to carry tar sands bitumen from Alberta to refineries on the U.S. Gulf coast. The pipeline's proposed path crosses treaty lands of Lakota nations that have pronounced themselves solidly against the pipeline.  It also runs over the Ogallala Aquifer, one of the world's largest, and crosses more than 1,700 other bodies of water. Pipeline ruptures often occur near water crossings since these lowest points subject pipes to the highest internal pressures.  Bitumen spills have poisoned portions of the Kalamazoo River (Michigan), Lake Conway (Arkansas), the Des Plaines River (Illinois) and many other waterways.

Tar sands bitumen, produced through a scorched-earth process, sinks in water and is impossible to clean up. The thick goo is diluted with benzene and other "proprietary" chemicals to allow it to flow through pipes. Those lighter volatile compounds go airborne after a spill, harming humans and animals. A pipeline proposal similar to Keystone XL through Vancouver, British Columbia, was rejected by Band and City Councils, which in turn forced the provincial government to nix the project on 31 May 2013.