GREETINGS FROM SIGNIGTOG MI’KMA’KI,
aka Kent County New Brunswick
THANK YOU, WELALIEK
The initial tour to start building a national network to support the IMW Peace & Friendship Legal Challenge was a great success. Many allies helped find space, publicize, and support the 4-city “Report from the Eastern Door” tour (Jan 5-9/15). Designed to share information about what has been happening down here with grassroots community environmental protectors, activists and defenders in central Canada, the tour was organized spontaneously in just a couple weeks.
Special Thanks, Chi Miigwetch, Nai’wen to organizational and network allies who helped so much: Toronto Friends Peace & Social Action Committee (The Quakers), Dan & Mary Lou Smoke of Smoke Signals Radio Show, First Peoples House of Learning at Trent University, Kawartha & Peterborough Chapter of the Council of Canadians, Kawartha Truth and Reconciliation Support Group, Nibi Emosaawdamajig: Those Who Walk for the Water, Council of Canadians National Office, KAIROS, Amnesty International Canadian Section, Chez Boris Cafe, and Montreal Allies Against Fracking.
The presentation dates (Jan 5 -9) coincided with a bitter cold spell in Ontario and Quebec, but still about 150 hardy people from many different activist backgrounds attended the talks. More than half of attendees signed our contact sheet to stay in touch with us. Other terrific outcomes included interest by alternative media (Toronto and Montreal) and local media (Peterborough), as well as free will donations of $792. $687 went into the legal fund account, which is being managed pro bono by Council of Canadians for us. The remaining $105 collected went towards the costs of printing our new IMW Fund promotional stickers.
If you are one of the people who came to these meetings without cash and are looking for info on how to contribute to our Legal Fund, there are two ways:
- online through Pay Pal at Elsipogtog, N.B – Legal Action Fund
- by snail mail, send a cheque/money-order to “Council of Canadians” at 300-251 Bank St, Ottawa ON K2P 1X3 — but please remember it is *IMPORTANT* to write “For the IMW Peace & Friendship Fund” on the back or note line of your cheque or money order, so your donation goes into our trust account
The IMW Legal Fund coordinators, grandmothers Serena Francis and Ann Pohl, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Council of Canadians regarding this fund. This MOU specifies financial accountability and ensures that all monies held in trust for us by COC will be used ONLY for legal fund costs. All funds donated to the PayPal account are cleared into the COC trust fund account. You can be confident that any donation you make will be used ONLY for this legal challenge. If you have any questions about the fund, you can email Serena or Ann at firstname.lastname@example.org
The 4-City tour was organized by allies of the IMW Legal Challenge at Elsipogtog, which has a welcoming community centre called Kopit Lodge. Kopit means beaver in Mi’kmaq — beavers ♥ the water and want it protected! You can find Kopit Lodge on Facebook, and send a request to join the group. The Lodge is open to All Peoples as a safe space, a talking place, an organizing center, a guest home for activist allies, and a place to share food and enjoy peace and friendship.
EVERY STOP ON THE TOUR ATTRACTED DIFFERENT PARTICIPANTS & QUESTIONS
- the September 2014 NB provincial election was a de facto referendum on fracking — and the “Say Yes! to Fracking” CONs LOST the election;
- NB has elected the first Green MLA in Atlantic Canada: David Coon in Fredericton South;
the new Liberal government delivered on its pre-election promise: a moratorium on deep shale fracking — see: Moratorium Details;
- the NDP doubled its voter support (but did not win a seat);
the Civilian Review Commission that investigates and reports on complaints about the RCMP has launched its own “public interest” inquiry into what happened to protestors/protectors during the anti-fracking action in 2013 here, and recently the Chair of the Civilian Commission filed his own Chair-Initiated Complaint Against RCMP in NB Anti-Fracking Protests
This is urgent in order to protect the natural environment for ALL future generations. Fracking is not the only environmental disaster threatening NB: virtually as soon as our underground is disturbed there is radioactive waste to deal with due to extensive uranium deposits; there are mega-mines in the works; add on a devastating new forestry policy and the proposed pipeline; and, of course, we are all witnessing the reality of climate change roll in, so the time for massive investment in renewable energies (not fossil fuels) is NOW….
On the fracking front, there are already two court challenges with different but allied emphases underway: the NB Anti-Shale Gas Alliance “Science Case Against Fracking,“ and the “Frack Back Peoples Lawsuit“. One of the most remarkable strengths we have as a united grassroots movement is that sparse population and a do-it-yourself attitude has empowered us all to become leaders and take action when needed, Our networking (often by word-of-mouth) has made it possible to call others out to support on short notice. As long as the action proposed is truly non-violent, if someone builds it, support will come.
- viewing what consultation should be like, how it should work
- review of our experiences and reports regarding past “consultations”
- acknowledging the conflicts of interest and lack of accountability by AFNNB Inc. chiefs (for more info on this, please ask)
- discussing our need to control this process
- suggestions on how to control this process
- proposal to elect delegates for this process
- planning to meet again in a week
The Elsi negotiation team will be in the strongest position imaginable going into consultations with representation from lawyer Bruce McIvor and his firm First People’s Law. Here is what one First Nation community leader says about Bruce’s indigenous law practice:
“First Peoples Law is committed to participating in the public discussion on Aboriginal title, rights and Treaty rights. Our community’s challenges are stubborn and complicated so we’ve got lots and lots of experience with all kinds of lawyers. But, where others have made assumptions, Bruce listens. Where others have seen complications, Bruce has seen potential solutions. Bruce’s knowledge and perspective are absolutely essential to the successes of our community-based strategy team — and he’s willing to get out on the land too. ” – Chief Erwin Redsky, Shoal Lake #40 First Nation