From late May to August 2013, The Miqmaq community of Elsipogtog in New Brunswick has maintained a sacred fire and a blockade near the junction of highways 126 and 116 west to symbolize a new boundary for fracking in the area.
The fire and gathering have impeded seismic testing trucks or 'thumpers' believed to signal the beginning of shale gas fracking exploration in the area. The region is currently under lease to SWN Resources.
There are about 10 companies licensed to explore for shale gas in the province but SWN Resources is the only one doing seismic testing at the moment.
At the end of May, Noel Augustine, a leader of the local council, sent the following message to SWN headquarters: 'The Migmag Grand Council of the Signigtog district, District 6 hereby gives public notice to all potential developers, the Government of Canada, and the province of New Brunswick, that pursuant to our Indigenous and Inherent rights as the righfull and lawfull owners of all Signigtog District Lands and resources, that no shale gas exploration and/or development or gas line shall proceed within our district without the expressed written consent and full participation of the Migmag Grand Council and the migmag people of the Signigtog District.' In response to the blockade, the province sent in massive numbers of RCMP to clear the highway. The community responded by inviting, all Idle No More & Defenders of the Land - Sovereignty Summer - activists, allies and supporters, and partnership organizations to join its stand to defend the land and water.
Over a few weeks in June, the RCMP has arrested 33 protesters, including children and elders, at various demonstrations in Kent County in recent weeks. Following this, in August some unspecified 'industrial equipment' was torched.
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 has promised to again bolster protests against the exploration work saying they will use 'any means necessary' to stop shale gas exploration on their territory.
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.
Stephanie Merrill of the Conservation Council of New Brunswick said her group was surprised to learn that the Environment Department issued a permit allowing SWN Resources to conduct seismic testing in wetlands in eight counties in the province.