At Millieaâ€™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. â€śThe women are fasting for
forgiveness for the damage caused to the Motherâ€”the land and the waterâ€”by the
[test] explosions,â€ť said Milliea. â€śThe men are fasting for protection.â€ť
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. â€śWater is life,â€ť explained Milliea. â€śWhen a person commits to
giving up water, they give up their life.â€ť 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 Miâ€™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.