Elsipogtog’s Kopit Lodge supports Wolastoq Nation opposing the Sisson mine

Written by Kenneth Francis on February 27, 2019

No’kma’tut, to our Wolastoq brothers and sisters:

We are writing on behalf of Kopit Lodge at Elsipogtog First Nation in the Sikniktuk District of Mi’kma’ki. Kopit Lodge is the voice for our community on consultation and related matters to do with land, waters, and other aspects of our traditional territory. We were authorized by Chief and Council to undertake this responsibility after our community successfully defended, working together with our Acadian and English allies, our territory from a US-based fracking corporation.

We are hearing the news that the Trudeau government supports a Schedule 2 exemption for the Sisson Mine development, proposed by Vancouver-based Northcliff Resources Ltd.  This proposed open-pit tungsten and molybdenum mine would be built at the headwaters of the Nashwaak River on Wolastoq territory about 60 kilometres northwest of Fredericton, and is to include an ore processing plant and an unlined tailings pond. The tailings pond is a huge concern as it is similar in design to and in fact larger than, the tailing pond that burst its dam at the Mount Polley mine in B.C.The Department of the Environment’s Sisson Mine Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement, published in the Canada Gazette, promotes the abuse of the tributaries of Bird Brook & West Napadogan Brook, part of the Nashwaak watershed, by allowing Sisson Mine to dump mine waste tailings and rocks in them. These are waterways that have fish and other life in them, including brook trout, slimy sculpin, American eel, and Atlantic salmon.

An overarching issue is that this is original Indigenous territory that has never been surrendered or ceded. Band Council Chiefs and Councils do not have the authority under the Indian Act to allow others to strip or damage the inheritance of our children. That decision rests with the people. Wolastoq women community leaders are residing on the location of the proposed project, in order to protect their grandchildren’s Aboriginal rights.

As the provincial and federal governments are both aware, we at Kopit Lodge and Elsipogtog First Nation have launched a court action to establish with certainty our Aboriginal Title in the province of New Brunswick. The Mi’kmaq are parties to the Wabanaki Confederacy along with the Wolastoqiyik. All Confederacy parties have made a commitment to share responsibility for caretaking and defending our territory.

We say no to this abrogation of Indigenous Title and Rights. We say no to the abuse of the habitat of our finned brothers and sisters and all our other relations that will be put at risk by this project due to the design of the tailings pond and the plan to allow devastation of these two brooks, which feed into the Nashwaak rivershed and from there into the St. John or Wolastoq River.

Our Wolastoq relations know they can count on us for support and solidarity in protecting our shared Wabanaki Confederacy territory.

We send our deepest respect to all of you as you continue to protect Mother Earth and her waters from danger.

M’sit No’kmaq,

Kenneth Francis, Spokesperson, aqq Kopitk

Kopit Lodge, Elsipogtog First Nation

Kopit Lodge, Elsipogtog First Nation

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