Mi'kmaq protesters delay Maritime Energy meeting
Energy Minister Andrew Younger target of complaints governments not consulting First Nations
Mi'kmaq protesters interrupted a meeting of the Maritimes Energy Association Monday, saying the government is not consulting with indigenous people over energy exploration.
Several women delayed a briefing Energy Minister Andrew Younger was giving to the association. Two gave their names as Starchild and White Dove and said they're from Wabanaki, a Mi'kmaq word for Atlantic Canada.
"I'm asking to be able to pray," Starchild said. She asked the audience to stand, which it did.
The protesters said energy exploration in the region could threaten water supplies and that governments are not consulting widely enough with First Nations people.
The protesters played an honour song and offered a prayer. The women had bought tickets and stayed for more of the meeting.
Younger said the government does consult with First Nations people.
"It would have been interesting had they listened to what I had to say first, because some of the things they were complaining about, I was actually addressing," he said.
Younger said the deputy minister regularly meets with the First Nations chief responsible for energy issues.
Most consultation goes through Kwilmu'kw Maw-klusuaqn (KMK), a group also known as Mi'kmaq Rights Initiative, Younger said.
A different group of protesters spoke against fracking at the meeting and were escorted out, as they didn't have tickets.