The Maliseet Grand Council invited the public to come to their water gathering ceremony for the first time. (Matt McCann/CBC)

About 150 people gathered in Fredericton, N.B., Saturday afternoon to participate in a water gathering ceremony held by the Maliseet Grand Council.

It's the first time the public has been invited to take part in the ceremony, and the council hopes to bring attention to shale gas development in the province.

Members of the Maliseet community sing and drum, as women carry water into the tent.

They've brought water from their areas with them, along with a common cause — opposition to shale gas drilling.

The council believes the controversial mining process of hydro-fracking should not be allowed in New Brunswick over fears it could harm the water supply.

"We have seen the experiences of people in other places, and the things that they're suffering. We don't want that here. We don't want that for our children here," said Alma Brooks, a member of the council.

Hydro-fracking is a process where companies pump a mixture of water, sand and chemicals into the ground, creating cracks in shale rock formations, which allows natural gas  to be extracted from areas that would otherwise go untapped.

It's the shattering of the shale with high-pressure water and chemicals that has many people concerned about the future of their water supplies.

Just a few days ago, one community group in the province — Citizens for Responsible Resource Development —backed off its call  for a moratorium on development.

Since then, other groups have come forward to reaffirm their call for a ban.

Ruth Wolpin is with one of the groups, Water First.

She drove from her home along the Kennebecasis River to take part in the ceremony.

She said shale drilling isn't worth the risk.

"There are many tributaries that go into the Kennebecasis River, and I really feel that the whole river system can be at serious risk."

The ceremony concludes Saturday night, with the water being returned to the river.