Wolastoqew Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth

Grand Council

Wolastoqew Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth

We, the Wolastoqewiyik:
*Considering that human beings are a part of Mother Earth, an inseparable, living community of interconnected and interdependent beings with a common destiny;

*Positively recognizing that Mother Earth is the source of all life, nourishment and learning, and supplies everything we need to live well;

*Acknowledging that the capitalist system and all forms of devastation, exploitation, abuse and corruption have caused great ruin, damage and destruction of Mother Earth, putting life as we know it today in jeopardy through events such as climate change;

*Certain that in an interdependent living community it is not possible to recognize the rights of only human beings without causing an imbalance within Mother Earth;

*Acknowledging that to assure human rights it is necessary to recognize and defend the rights of Mother Earth and all beings in Her and that there are existing cultures, practices and laws that do so;

*Mindful of the urgency of taking vital, cooperative action to transform structures and systems that cause climate change and other threats to Mother Earth;

*Proclaim this Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth, and call on all Wolastoqewiyik to adopt it, as a common standard of achievement for all Wolastoqewiyik, and to the end that every individual and institution takes responsibility for promoting through teaching, education, and awareness, respect for the rights recognized in this Declaration and guarantee through punctual and evolutionary actions and methods, in our non-ceded Wolastoq Homeland and all of Turtle Island.

Article 1. Mother Earth

(1) Mother Earth is a living being.

(2) Mother Earth is an irreplaceable, inseparable, self-determining community of interconnected beings that sustains, contains and reproduces all beings.

(3) Each being is defined by its relationships as an essential part of Mother Earth.

(4) The inherent rights of Mother Earth are absolute in that they arise from the same source as existence.

(5) Mother Earth and all life are at liberty to all the inherent rights documented in this Declaration without distinction of any kind, such as may be made between organic and inorganic beings, species, origin, use to human beings, or any other status.

(6) Just as human beings have human rights, all other beings also have rights that are specific to their species or kind and suitable for their role and function within the communities within which they exist.

(7) The rights of each being are restricted by the rights of other beings and any disagreement between their rights must be resolved in a way that upholds the integrity, balance and health of Mother Earth.

Article 2. Inherent Rights of Mother Earth

(1) Mother Earth and all beings of which she is composed have the following inherent rights:


(a) The right to life and to exist;

(b) The right to be respected;

(c) The right to regenerate its bio-capacity and to continue its vital cycles and processes free from human disruptions;

(d) The right to preserve its identity and integrity as a distinct, self-regulating and interconnected being;

(e) The right to water as a source of life;

(f) The right to clean air;

(g) The right to basic health;

(h) The right to be free from contamination, pollution and toxic or radioactive waste;

(i) The right to not have its genetic structure customized or disturbed in a manner that threatens its reliability or essential and healthy functioning;

(j) The right to full and timely restoration of the violation of the rights documented in this Declaration caused by human activities;


(2) Each being has the right to a place and to play its role in Mother Earth for Her balanced purpose.


(3) Every being has the right to security and to live free from torture or cruel treatment by human beings.


Article 3. Obligations of human beings to Mother Earth


(1) Every human being is accountable for respecting and living in unity with Mother Earth.


(2) Human beings, all States, and all civic and private institutions must:


(a) Act in agreement with the rights and responsibilities recognized in this Declaration;

(b) Accept and endorse the full implementation and enforcement of the rights and requirements recognized in this Declaration;

(c) Endorse and partake in learning, studying, understanding and interaction about how to live in agreement with Mother Earth in harmony with this Declaration;

(d) Guarantee that the quest of human security be part of the safety of Mother Earth, now and in the future;

(e) Create and apply functioning norms and laws for the protection, and conservation of the rights of Mother Earth;

(f) Respect, protect, preserve and where necessary, restore the integrity, of the critical natural cycles, methods and balances of Mother Earth;

(g) Assurance that the damages caused by human violations of the inherent rights documented in this Declaration are resolved and that those responsible are held responsible for returning the integrity and health of Mother Earth;

(h) Empower human beings and institutions to defend the rights of Mother Earth and of all beings;

(i) Create preventive and restraining measures to prevent human activities from causing species extinction, the damage of ecosystems or the disruption of natural cycles;

(j) Ensure peace in Wolastoq Homeland

(k) Promote and support practices of respect for Mother Earth and all beings, in accordance with their own cultures, traditions and customs;

(l) Support economic systems that are in harmony with Mother Earth and in agreement with the rights recognized in this Declaration. 


Article 4. Definitions


(1) The term “being” includes ecosystems, natural communities, species and all other natural entities that exist as part of Mother Earth.


(2) Nothing in this Declaration restricts the recognition of other inherent rights of all beings or individual beings.



Debriefing Elsipogtog: The Anatomy of a Struggle (Corner Brook)


Debriefing Elsipogtog: The Anatomy of a Struggle
by Miles Howe

What happens when fracking comes to your community?
The Corner Brook launch of Miles Howe’s book Debriefing Elsipogtog: The Anatomy of a Struggle, promises to give area residents a first-hand glimpse of the real, on-the-ground and behind-the-scenes events in the 2013 summer of resistance against shale gas development in New Brunswick.

Howe, an independent journalist with the Halifax Media Co-op, and Annie Clair, a Mi’kmaq land defender from Elsipogtog First Nation, will visit Corner Brook on Saturday, June 27 to share their experiences and the stories of those who defended their land and water from an American oil and gas company who wanted to risk the environment and the health of those who live in Kent County, N.B. for profit. Continue reading

‘Saltwater’ from fracking spill much different from ocean water

Re blogged from Physics Org

‘Saltwater’ from fracking spill much different from ocean water

by Lisa Song, Insideclimate New (July 25, 2014)
Fracking water contaminationIn early July (2014),  a million gallons of salty drilling waste spilled from a pipeline onto a steep hillside in western North Dakota’s Fort Berthold Reservation. The waste – a byproduct of oil and gas production – has now reached a tributary of Lake Sakakawea, which provides drinking water to the reservation.

The industry’s wastewater is five to eight times saltier than seawater, said Bill Kappel, a hydrogeologist emeritus at the U.S. Geological Survey. It’s salty enough to sting the human tongue, and contains heavy metals in concentrations that might not meet drinking water standards. The briny mix can also include radioactive material. Heavy metals and radioactive materials are toxic at certain concentrations.

“You don’t want to be drinking this stuff,” Kappel said.

The North Dakota spill has killed vegetation and contaminated the soil, and cleanup crews are working on remediation and monitoring. In an email, a representative of Crestwood Midstream Partners – the parent company of Arrow Pipelines, the company responsible for the spill – said there is “no evidence of an impact to the local water supply.”

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-07-saltwater-fracking-ocean.html#jCp

Canadian military turns down Mi’kmaq Warrior Society intervention request

By Jorge Barrera

The Canadian military has turned down a request to step into ongoing conflicts between the RCMP and members of the Mi’kmaq Warrior Society sparked by protests against fracking-linked shale gas exploration in northern New Brunswick.

A spokesperson for the Fifth Canadian Division Support Base, formerly known as CFB Gagetown, said military police met with a small delegation of “members from an Aboriginal community” who visited its Oromocto, NB, base Thursday.

“We redirected them to the proper authorities for the issues they wanted to discuss, which was the RCMP,” said Stephanie Duchense, a public affairs officer. “They were put in touch with a member of the RCMP at that time.”

A New Brunswick RCMP spokesperson would not comment on the meeting or confirm whether any officers with the RCMP were contacted by military police on the issue.

Conflicts flared in northern New Brunswick throughout the summer as Mi’kmaq activists from Elisipogtog First Nation, along with supporters from Acadian and rural communities in New Brunswick, attempted to stop SNW Resources from exploring for shale gas in the region. The RCMP arrested about 35 people during the protests.

Warrior Society members say the RCMP continues its surveillance of Mi’kmaq people linked to the protests.

Duchense said the delegation requested a meeting with military police and talks lasted for about one hour.

A member of the Mi’kmaq Warrior Society said the meeting lasted for about three hours and that they were told the Canadian military could not intervene without a request from the province. The meeting was attended by the Warrior Society war chief known as Seven, James Pictou and Suzanne Patles.

Under the National Defence Act, a province has the power to call in the military with Ottawa picking up the full cost of the ensuing operation. The Canadian military became involved in the 1990 Oka Crisis at the request of the Quebec government.

“They are not going to go out until called upon by the province,” said the Warrior Society member, who requested anonymity. “Basically they stated which side of the line they are going to be on.”

The Mi’kmaq Warrior Society believes that the Canadian military has a duty to protect the Mi’kmaq nation from “enemies, both foreign and domestic” under Peace and Friendship Treaties signed between Mi’kmaq and the British Crown.

“It was disheartening they weren’t going to fulfill their treaty obligations when we went to seek assistance,” said the Warrior Society member. “We went to seek their assistance; that is part of their mandate.”

The Warrior Society issued a statement late Thursday saying that a “refusal to fulfill this request for assistance is a violation of the pre-Confederation Peace and Friendship Treaties.”

The society said the RCMP arrested three of its members in Moncton, NB, Wednesday when they attempted to meet with New Brunswick First Nations leaders.

Suzanne Patles and Annie Clair were arrested on suspicion of mischief in relation to a protest against exploration work at the end of July. James Pictou was arrested on suspicion of uttering threats.

An RCMP spokesperson said charges are pending against all three, who were released on conditions.

“I can confirm there were arrests made,” said Const. Julie Rogers-Marsh. “I can’t confirm the names . . . or if they are a part of that society.”

SWN stopped its exploration work at the end of July as a result of a negotiated detente following intensifying protests. The company, however, is widely expected to return to finish its exploration work this month.

The Mi’kmaq Warrior Society plans to again bolster protests against the exploration work and its members say they will use “any means necessary” to stop shale gas exploration on their territory.

“I am willing to die,” said the Warrior Society member. “They are going to have to kill us to be able to destroy what is left in our territory. They’ve depleted most of our game, our forests, they raped our women and took our children, they manipulated our men and now they are coming to destroy the last thing we have left: our water.”

Originally published in APTN National News