Assembly of First Nations Stands in Solidarity with Elsipogtog First Nation in Asserting the Right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent regarding Resource Development
July 4, 2013
Ottawa (ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo stated today that he stands with the citizens of the Elsipogtog First Nation and neighbouring communities in their assertion of Indigenous rights through the peaceful protest of shale gas exploration and development in New Brunswick.
“I fully support all First Nations in asserting their rights and the implementation of free, prior and informed consent as a basic standard when it comes to resource development,” said AFN National Chief Atleo. “On Monday July 1st, I met with the Elsipogtog Women’s Circle, Chief Arren Sock and the Band Council and I stand with them in solidarity in their efforts to protect their traditional land. I encourage local authorities to work diligently with the peacekeepers to ensure safety and security of all involved. This situation needs full coordination, communication and increased support towards a sustainable solution that guarantees the safety of the citizens of the Elsipogtog First Nation.”
AFN NB/PEI Regional Chief Roger Augustine added, “Development opportunities must not come at a cost to First Nation rights. First Nations must be fully engaged in any development in their unceded territories so they can drive the solutions that will grow their communities. Governments and industry must engage now with our First Nations communities in New Brunswick before it’s too late.”
SWN Resources Canada, which is conducting seismic testing in the area, has been met by weeks of protests. Elsipogtog First Nation Chief Arren Sock called for a moratorium on shale gas exploration and development on Thursday, June 27, 2013 to allow for engagement and consultation. He also appointed a peacekeeper to deal with growing tensions.
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Comms, @AFN_Updates.