Suzanne Patles and Lorraine Clair, two Mi’kmaq women recently arrested for conducting ceremonial prayers near SWN’s seismic testing site in Kent County, NB, are calling on all nations and devotions to defend their treaty rights to protect their territorial waters from destruction by seismic testing and fracking activities. Both women are also seeking international oversight of their abusive treatment at the hands of the RCMP in exercising Aboriginal rights and human rights.
Clair suffered injury to what she claims is excessive force, is now wearing a cast and is currently considering both legal and human rights remedies from the RCMP.
Patles has also suffered emotional trauma due to the RCMP’s disrespect to her cultural practices. She is also suffering from mental and emotional trauma from what she has has described as inhumane treatment while incarcerated in her cell and during interrogation. Patles also claims that she was not treated the same as other prisoners in the cells. Deprivation of blankets, food and water and kept in custody for periods much longer than non native protesters.
The interference of their traditional ceremonial practices and the sacred responsibilities as protectors of the waters is both an infringement of Canada’s human rights protections under both domestic and international human rights, as well as, s.35 protection of Aboriginal and treaty rights.
Both women, with strong support from Mi’kmaq communities and allies, will continue their efforts to raise the public awareness of the dangers of seismic testing and fracking on sacred watersheds within the Mi’kmaq territory.