Peacemakers Needed in Canada

As Christian peacemakers, we are grateful for the ministry of ecumenical Christian Peacemaker Teams[i] in many conflict-ridden corners of the globe. Committed to building partnerships to transform violence and oppression, CPT teams accompany and support threatened communities with an on-going presence (Colombia, Iraq, and Palestine) or periodic visits (Democratic Republic of the Congo, US/Mexico Borderlands, and Canada).[wpcol_3fifth id=”” class=”” style=””]

Yes, Canada! Since 1999, Christian Peacemaker Teams have helped reduce violence directed at First Nations communities resisting industrial activity (i.e. logging, mining, and fishing) in their territories without their consent.

From time immemorial, the peoples of the sovereign Mi’kmaq territory of Signigtog have lived upon their traditional lands with their own governments, political systems, language, culture, spirituality, and diverse means of livelihood.  They have never surrendered their sovereignty or jurisdiction over their lands.

In May 2012, the Band Council of Elsipogtog First Nation, a Mi’kmaq community, passed a resolution opposing shale gas exploration and development within Elsipogtog First Nation and the Province of New Brunswick, citing concerns about the environment and the need for direct consultation by the Crown.  In May 2013, the Mi’kmaq Grand Council of the Signigtog District 6 issued a public notice prohibiting all “shale gas exploration and/or development” without the “expressed written consent and full participation of the Mi’kmaq Grand Council and the Mi’kmaq people of the Signigtog District.”

The Elsipogtog First Nation and non-Aboriginal landowners in Kent County, New Brunswick are fighting to stop shale gas exploration by SWN Resources.  They are concerned fracking will lead to the depletion of groundwater and widespread water contamination.

On 14 June, the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) arrested twelve people who were trying to stop the progress of SWN trucks.  At least thirty-three people have been arrested so far.  The police roughly handled three Mi’kmaq women as they were in the middle of conducting a ceremony, a serious violation of cultural protocols. A CPT team has been on site since the end of June

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A Social Creed for the 21st Century

In hope sustained by the Holy Spirit, we pledge to be peacemakers in the world and stewards of God’s good creation, by working for:

– Adoption of simpler lifestyles for those who have enough; grace over greed in economic life.
– Access for all to clean air and water and healthy food, through wise care of land and technology. 
– Sustainable use of earth’s resources, promoting alternative energy sources and public transportation with binding covenants to reduce global warming and protect populations most affected.
– Equitable global trade and aid that protects local economies, cultures and livelihoods.
– Peacemaking through multilateral diplomacy rather than unilateral force, the abolition of torture, and a strengthening of the United Nations and the rule of international law.
– Nuclear disarmament and redirection of military spending to more peaceful and productive uses.
– Cooperation and dialogue for peace and environmental justice among the world’s religions.

An upcoming CPT aboriginal justice delegation (Sept. 27-Oct 7) will explore what it means to be an ally to indigenous communities engaged in healing, resisting colonialism, and struggling to have their sovereignty acknowledged and respected.  Interested in the Elsipogtog delegation? If so, contact delegation coordinator, Terra Winston.

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