Thunder Bay fire burns for New Brunswick First Nations

Some First Nations people in Thunder Bay lit a sacred fire in support of anti-fracking protesters in New Brunswick.

Ceremony held in support of anti-fracking demonstrators

Chance King adds wood to a sacred fire in Thunder Bay at a ceremony to support anti-fracking protesters in New Brunswick. (Joshua Lynn/CBC)

Some First Nations people in Thunder Bay lit a sacred fire Friday in support of anti-fracking protesters in New Brunswick.

Over a dozen people were gathered during the noon hour the Ontario Native Women's Association headquarters.

"(I'm here) supporting the Mi'kmaq out east and their protest against the fracking,” said Chance King, who was serving as fire keeper during the ceremony.

“So this our sacred fire, sending strength to them, sending out prayers to them so that they can stay strong and continue the protest against the fracking,” King said.

Forty people were arrested Thursday in a demonstration over land used for shale gas exploration in Rexton, N.B.

The weeks-long protest that closed a highway and blockaded SWN Resources Canada's exploration equipment ended in a clash between RCMP officers and protesters. At least five police vehicles were destroyed by fire.

King said he felt upset as he watched Thursday’s events unfold from Thunder Bay.

"I was on the internet and then I saw some things...and then I found a live feed,” King said. “Seeing all that, and that they brought out snipers, and dogs...I thought it was a little too much, a little excessive."

Robert Animikii Horton, who organized Friday’s ceremony, says it's crucial for First Nations people across the country to stand together.

Erin Bottle sings during a sacred fire ceremony in Thunder Bay. (Joshua Lynn/CBC)

He said there were people from Elsipogtog, the First Nations community involved in the New Brunswick protests, living in Thunder Bay. He said they were taking part in Friday’s ceremony and sending word about it back home.

"One of the biggest strategies that...has been used against us time and time again has been the divide and conquer strategy,” Horton said. “What we're seeing now since they've shaken the bee hive is unprecedented solidarity right across Turtle Island."

Elsewhere in northwestern Ontario, people at Shoal Lake First Nation 39 lit a sacred fire near the intersection of Hwy 17 and Shoal Lake Road. They were also planning to hold a Jingle Dress healing walk in Kenora Friday afternoon.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.