Mi’kmaq Warrior anti-fracking tour visits Calgary
First Nation groups raise concerns about water and land rights
Aboriginal activists on a national speaking tour to protest fracking brought their message to Calgary last night.
The panel discussion featured a civil liberties lawyer and speakers from the Mi'kmaq Warriors Society and Blood Tribe.
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The goal was to raise awareness about the concerns Mi’kmaq warriors and Blood Tribe residents have about fracking on their land.
"The issue of fracking and the related issues around that are coming to affect people all over the world actually," said Rev. Bill Phipps, who moderated the panel discussion.
Hydraulic fracturing — or fracking — involves pumping water, sand and chemicals deep down well bores to crack open fissures and boost the flow of oil and gas.
Concerns have been raised in the past about ground water contamination as well as the amount of clean drinking water used in the process.
Lori Brave Rock from the Blood Tribe reserve in southern Alberta says fracking started in her community in 2010.
"There really was no chance that we had to you know protest to stop it. It was basically a done deal," she said.
Brave Rock says the fracking contract on her reserve expires next year and it won`t be renewed.
"If we don't look towards a moratorium within southern Alberta, or within Alberta as a whole, we are not really gaining anything," she said.
But some First Nations are taking a more aggressive approach to their protests and have been met with strong police reaction.
"Our response was waking up to a hundred guns pointed directly at us," said Suzanne Patles with the Mi`kmaq Warriors Society.
"Not everybody has to stand up, put their lives on the line and be a warrior — have a gun pointed to your head. It's not everybody's role and responsibility, but if it is then do it," said Patles.
Patles was arrested, but her charges were dropped. Her spouse and a brother are still behind bars and awaiting trial.