Elsipogtog – A sacred fire, which must burn continuously and be monitored for four days, has been lit by Mi’kmaq peoples from all corners of traditional Mi’kma’ki, who have gathered in the New Brunswick community of Elsipogtog. They, as well as non-Indigenous peoples from the local communities and beyond, have now begun to congregate in a field – with permission given by the owner – adjacent to the junction of Highway 126 and Highway 116 west.
The gathering, which now comprises about 40 people, is directly in the path of seismic testing trucks – or “thumpers” – that are conducting geological surveying on behalf of SWN Resources Canada. SWN is exploring for shale gas deposits. Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples worry that the seismic testing will lead to hydraulic fracturing – or fracking – of Kent County, much of which is under exploratory lease to SWN.
Elsipogotg war chief John Levi has noted that the gathering will remain peaceful, but that the seismic testing will not be allowed to continue past the sacred fire.
“We’re not going to let them pass. This is the reason why we’ve set up,” Levi told the Halifax Media Co-op. “We’ve made our sacred fire. We’re going to stand our ground here. This would be the spot here, so we’re asking for support from all non-Native and Native peoples.”
Miles Howe is a journalist with the Halifax Media Co-op. This article was first published by the Halifax Media Co-op.