Signigtog Mi’kmaq Reclaim Stewardship of Native Lands

Press release

Backgrounder to press release: Anyone who has watched either of the Gasland documentaries is well aware of the devastating environmental consequences of fracking. Earlier this summer warriors of Elsipogtog First Nation opposed seismic testing for shale gas by SWN Resource Canada.1 Mi’kmaq united with environmentalists and locals opposed to fracking.

SWN Resources is still attempting to carry out seismic testing on land deemed belonging to the Crown, so the resistance to the frackers continues.2

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“There will be no more of our lands being held in trust by governments.”

Elsipogtog First Nation Chief and Council will announce their resolution to reclaim their stewardship over all unoccupied alleged “Crown” land. The Band Council Resolution (BCR) will be publicly unveiled at a media conference at the Rexton shale gas resistance site at the junction of Highway 11 & 134 at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, October 1, 2013.

Compelled to action by their people to save their waters, lands and animals from ruin, the Elsipogtog First Nation and Signigtog District Grand Council are reclaiming responsibility for stewardship of all unoccupied reserved native lands in their territory.

The lands of the Signigtog Mi’kmaq have never been ceded or sold; for centuries, the British Crown claimed to be holding the lands in trust for them. However, the Original people of the territory, together with their hereditary and elected leaders, believe that their lands and waters are being badly mismanaged by Canada, the province and corporations to the point of ruin. Now facing complete destruction, they feel that the lands are no longer capable of providing enough to support the populations of the region.

Because of these threats to their survival and way of life, the Mi’kmaq people of Signigtog are resuming stewardship of their lands and waters to correct the problems and are planning measures to restore them back to good health. Last July, the Signigtog District Grand Council notified the province of New Brunswick that they had served shale gas developer Southwestern Energy (SWN) with an eviction notice.

Elsipogtog Chief Arren Sock states, “We will respect everyone who lives and works in our territories and respects the Treaties of Peace and Friendship and our authority over our lands. We intend to be fair to everyone.”

  1. See Miles Howe, “SWN rebuffed in New Brunswick back woods,” The Dominion, 24 June 2013. []
  2. Miles Howe, “Return of the Frack,” Halifax Media Co-op, 28 September 2013. []

Elsipogtog First Nation is located in Mi'kma'ki, what has been designated by colonialists as New Brunswick, Canada. Read other articles by Elsipogtog First Nation.