Canadian military turns down Mi'kmaq Warrior Society intervention request - APTN National NewsAPTN National News

Canadian military turns down Mi'kmaq Warrior Society intervention request

By Jorge Barrera
APTN National News
The Canadian military has turned down a request to step into ongoing conflicts between the RCMP and members of the Mi’kmaq Warrior Society sparked by protests against fracking-linked shale gas exploration in northern New Brunswick.

A spokesperson for the Fifth Canadian Division Support Base, formerly known as CFB Gagetown, said military police met with a small delegation of “members from an Aboriginal community” who visited its Oromocto, NB, base Thursday.

“We redirected them to the proper authorities for the issues they wanted to discuss, which was the RCMP,” said Stephanie Duchense, a public affairs officer. “They were put in touch with a member of the RCMP at that time.”

A New Brunswick RCMP spokesperson would not comment on the meeting or confirm whether any officers with the RCMP were contacted by military police on the issue.

Conflicts flared in northern New Brunswick throughout the summer as Mi’kmaq activists from Elisipogtog First Nation, along with supporters from Acadian and rural communities in New Brunswick, attempted to stop SNW Resources from exploring for shale gas in the region. The RCMP arrested about 35 people during the protests.

Warrior Society members say the RCMP continues its surveillance of Mi’kmaq people linked to the protests.

Duchense said the delegation requested a meeting with military police and talks lasted for about one hour.

A member of the Mi’kmaq Warrior Society said the meeting lasted for about three hours and that they were told the Canadian military could not intervene without a request from the province. The meeting was attended by the Warrior Society war chief known as Seven, James Pictou and Suzanne Patles.

Under the National Defence Act, a province has the power to call in the military with Ottawa picking up the full cost of the ensuing operation. The Canadian military became involved in the 1990 Oka Crisis at the request of the Quebec government.

“They are not going to go out until called upon by the province,” said the Warrior Society member, who requested anonymity. “Basically they stated which side of the line they are going to be on.”

The Mi’kmaq Warrior Society believes that the Canadian military has a duty to protect the Mi’kmaq nation from “enemies, both foreign and domestic” under Peace and Friendship Treaties signed between Mi’kmaq and the British Crown.

“It was disheartening they weren’t going to fulfill their treaty obligations when we went to seek assistance,” said the Warrior Society member. “We went to seek their assistance; that is part of their mandate.”

The Warrior Society issued a statement late Thursday saying that a “refusal to fulfill this request for assistance is a violation of the pre-Confederation Peace and Friendship Treaties.”

The society said the RCMP arrested three of its members in Moncton, NB, Wednesday when they attempted to meet with New Brunswick First Nations leaders.

Suzanne Patles and Annie Clair were arrested on suspicion of mischief in relation to a protest against exploration work at the end of July. James Pictou was arrested on suspicion of uttering threats.

An RCMP spokesperson said charges are pending against all three, who were released on conditions.

“I can confirm there were arrests made,” said Const. Julie Rogers-Marsh. “I can’t confirm the names . . . or if they are a part of that society.”

SWN stopped its exploration work at the end of July as a result of a negotiated detente following intensifying protests. The company, however, is widely expected to return to finish its exploration work this month.

The Mi’kmaq Warrior Society plans to again bolster protests against the exploration work and its members say they will use “any means necessary” to stop shale gas exploration on their territory.

“I am willing to die,” said the Warrior Society member. “They are going to have to kill us to be able to destroy what is left in our territory. They’ve depleted most of our game, our forests, they raped our women and took our children, they manipulated our men and now they are coming to destroy the last thing we have left: our water.”


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  • Jo McKay

    Absolutely the Canadian military has a duty to protect. In fact the RCMP, also a National police force also have a duty to protect First People’s from ‘any’ infringement of the Treaties. Territory rights to hunt, fish and trap do include the right to clean air, soil, plants, animals, and water. Maybe some will take the government’s angle and pretend they do not understand the language or it’s implications, however, the country will once again look like liars and bullies and perhaps ‘murderers’ again to the International community. No one wants to accuse a partner (and that is who the govt of Canada is supposed to be – a ‘partner’. First Peoples signed treaties only under the assurance that we are ‘sharing’ the land and it’s resources, sharing our knowledge, skills, and resources). Maybe that language is too obscure for our ‘gifted’ politicians, but back on the ground, in the real world SHARE and PARTNERS still means equal, which means agreements ‘must’ occur or NO development can go ahead – period! Many many years of propaganda and massive dollars in bright Canada is Kind marketing campaigns have certainly been effective in prejudicing a core of Canadians, but those who choose to do their own research and come to their own conclusions, along with most of the members of the United Nations, significant social justice organizations like Amnesty International, etc. are not so easily blinded by shiny Ads; when we review the ‘facts’ and the growing evidence, it is CRYSTAL clear (all shiny and bright even) that Canada must put equal control of lands and resources, retro-active payment of under financed communities, and pre and post constitutional rights back in the control of the 1 million plus First People’s of Canada. Much more then an apology is required today. Our law enforcement officials might consider what happens if they follow the lead and instructions (knowing they are wrong) of potentially corrupt politicians instead of the spirit of the laws of humanity. I wouldn’t want to be a police officer. I would be standing down before I marched against the ‘owners’ and ‘keepers’ of the land. I would be telling any superior who asked me to escalate a dispute or interfere with a protest to go and do it “yourself”. Maybe the language is sometimes a challenge, but in the heart, and when we look at one another eye to eye…we all know the difference between what’s right and what’s wrong – don’t we? So going to war (so to speak) with people who stand up for the health of our earth (our life support systems) and it’s people – that must sound crazy to everyone? Stop this insanity and grow up. It is children who play at war games – adults consider the future and the whole needs of humanity. – Peace