#Elsipogtog: Machine Guns Against Eagle Feathers (Interview with Ex-Chief of Elsipogtog)
“We’ve Got Machine Guns against Eagle Feathers”
Lastrealindians was able to get an inside interview with the Susan Levi Peters -former Chief of the Elsipogtog 1st Nation which became the focus of an intense standoff between a Canadian RCMP paramilitary force of 200 armed-riot-ready police and peaceful protesters who were awakened by gunpoint.
The Mi’kMak of Elsipogtog were engaged with their allies in a multi-week road blockade to protest the potential fracking of their land and poisoning of their water. The Canadian Provincial government leased land to a Texas-drilling company (SWN) to explore for shale-natural gas by the highly destructive Fracking method. This action is illegal according to the Elsipogtog as they cite International and Supreme Court law requiring consent and consultation [with them] before a project of this magnitude. SWN was successful in obtaining an Injunction in Canadian courts to stop the blockade; the 1st injunction expired October 12, 2013, SWN filed for an extension until October 21, 2013 and the Elsipogtog blockaders were set to provide rebuttal today (a day after the morning raid was executed). This, according to Susan Levi Peters, is the reason why yesterday’s raid at 730am was a complete shock and awe surprise. The current Chief of Elsipogtog 1st Nation along with the Provincial government had issued a press release highlighting a working group to resolve the issues that were highlighted by the blockade.
That resolution was not to be had. Instead, 200 RCMP in paramilitary tactical gear with assault rifles were in formation early yesterday morning, snipers flanked the perimeters, canines were eager to attack at their masters command, yelling filled the air, Armored Personnel Carriers (like those at Wounded Knee 1973) roamed about, the debilitating sting of tear gas was near, a grandmother was shot in the face with a rubber bullet (the same kind that killed an Occupy Oakland protester in 2011), more were shot, more were beaten, including an attorney for the Mik’mak, more were tazed, including an elderly woman who was praying with a rosary, more were tear-gassed and pepper-sprayed, more were arrested, 40 in all including current Elsipogtog Chief Aaron Sock and some 4 members of the Council, most of which appear before a judge today (Friday, October 18). The RCMP attacked a peaceful camp that did not include the Mi’kMak warrior society’s main camp which was located opposite of the peaceful camp. Everyone in the blockade camp was unarmed, mostly women, children, and elders praying, drumming, smudging and letting their voice be heard as the RCMP shot, tazed, and tear-gassed people the peaceful demonstrators were pushed further back toward a line of RCMP vehicles which were set ablaze in response to the RCMP attacks; “at this point I was very concerned for our safety as the cars were prone to explosion” said Susan Levi Peters.
“It looked like a war zone, the whole camp was torn apart where our people had been living, this had been their residence” said Peters, “this is not over, far from over, who authorized the company [SWN] to come in? According to our understanding we signed an agreement with the Provincial government that guaranteed consultation and according to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) we have a right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent with our community before anyone is to drill or pursue something like shale gas, especially by Fracking. Additionally, according to the Supreme Court, the Provincial Gov. has a duty to consult according to the Marshall case (R. v. Marshall) and the Gray cases (R. v. Gray)” stated Susan Levi Peters.
In a closing commentary Susan Levi Peters said: It doesn’t have to go this far, our youth are speaking up, they’re educated, it’s different, they know what their rights are, what their potential is , they realize the injustice, just like at Oka, I remember Oka clearly, my father said “those warriors are not going to stand back; they know who they are, I was there 15 years ago and they were teaching them who they are, their history, their treaties, their rights, once you learn who we are there’s no going back.” You know, one of the warriors arrested today was a treaty scholar. They want to make us look like criminals. Everyone there that was attacked was peaceful. It wasn’t supposed to be a violent protest, but they woke up with guns in their faces, they were aggressed. Our people are Idle No More. We have to get out of the poverty of our own minds. The land and water is us, what else does any human really have. This is our hemisphere to protect; they keep invading, in no time they’ll be in your territory.