The settler government of so-called New Brunswick has allowed South-Western Energy (SWN), a Houston based company, to explore 2.5 million acres of land – Crown land that is unceded Mik’maq and Maliseet territories. On June 11th, a Sacred Fire was lit to oppose shale gas and the development of the fracking industry on their territories. Indigenous and non-Indigenous community members have come together to form a nonviolent encampment, blocking seismic testing trucks owned by SWN as they prevent further excavation on stolen and occupied Indigenous lands for the purpose of resource extraction. Fracking is a vile practice developed by a capitalist system in desperation that poisons and destroys water tables and de-stabilizes tectonic plates causing tremors in regions degenerated into frack-lands.
Resource extraction and the imposition of power by settler governments is but a part of the ongoing project of colonialism faced by Indigenous peoples. We at the Swamp Line 9 blockade recognize that Indigenous communities are disproportionately impacted by the environmental and socio-cultural impacts of industries such as the tar sands and fracking. The Line 9 pipeline crosses through over a dozen Indigenous communities all the way from Aamjiwnaang to Kanesatake. Resource extraction and land theft are part of an ongoing assault on Indigenous nations, contributing to the systemic and systematic projects of genocide and assimilation, directly attacking Indigenous lifeways and ways of being.
"It is not enough to support frontline land defence by Indigenous Peoples; as settlers on Indigenous Territories we also have an inherent responsibility to put our own bodies on the line, especially in recognition of the fact that land theft and the destruction of Peoples’ territories is perhaps the most central strategy of the genocidal project of settler-colonialism," said blockader Geoff Delaney from Hamilton.
As both settlers and Indigenous blockaders Swamp Line 9 stands in solidarity with the Mik’maq and Maliseet Peoples and the Peoples of the Wabanaki Confederation who are exercising their responsibilities as peoples Indigenous to Turtle Island to protect the land and water. Nonviolent direct action allows us to disrupt corporate colonialism and directly confront SWN and Enbridge in the face of poor community consultation processes, particularly in the case of Indigenous communities. Those holding their ground in Elispitogog at the Sacred Fire have faced incredible state repression, with a huge and confrontational presence by RCMP. Droves of RCMP officers have been documented sweeping in to peaceful protests in Elispitogog, primarily arresting Indigenous women and youth – on the evening of the solstice an Indigenous woman who is 9 months pregnant was taken away by the police. Women bringing medicines, performing sacred duties, making tobacco offerings, singing and drumming, have been the primary target of settler-state repression and continue to face the brunt of colonial interests on the front lines as they take up their responsibilities to the natural world. We condemn the colonial violence being exercised by the state at the hands of the RCMP.
We at Swamp Line 9 understand that the place where we stand our ground is occupied and stolen territory. This site is shared traditional lands amongst the Chonnonton, Misi-Zaagiig Anishinaabek and Onondowaga Haudenosaunee peoples. It is through undoing the invisibilization of colonial narratives, understanding the impacts of colonial-capitalist social structures on Indigenous nations, and risking our comfort for the survival, not only of future generations, but the complexity of rich ecosystems that survive us - that we stand in solidarity with the Sacred Fire in Elispitogog.