(The barricade that was set up to stop Junex from oil exploration on Mi’gmaq territory in Gaspé, Québec. )
APTN National News
An Ojibwe man is facing a number of charges after being arrested at a blockade in Mi’gmaq territory.
Freddy Stoneypoint said he was helping land protectors in eastern Québec who are trying to put a stop to oil exploration.
“It’s come down, but luckily there’s a new stronghold at the river camp,” Stoneypoint told APTN National News.
Stoneypoint was arrested at the barricade on August 14 when Québec provincial police had it dismantled.
Now he’s facing charges including theft, and trespassing.
“There was a sacred fire that was burning,” he said. “We had sage, we had sweet grass, and at that moment of the arrest, all I was doing was merely existing as an Indigenous person on Indigenous land.”
(Freddy Stoneypoint is facing several charges related to a blockade in Québec)
The blockade was located in the Gaspé region of eastern Québec.
It was set up to prevent the continued exploration for oil in the region.
“I recognized it as an immediate assault on the land and water of turtle island,” said Stoneypoint.
“And I saw it as my duty as an Ojibwe land and water protector to intervene and assert my jurisdiction as an Indigenous man in protecting that land.”
A camp of land protectors remains near the road leading to the drill site.
It’s made up of Québecois and First Nation activists.
The camp had reason to celebrate recently when Junex, the company behind the drilling, agreed to halt further exploration.
In a press release, Junex said that it has agreed to wait four months for the proper consultation of Mi’gmaq First Nations of Gaspé.
The body that represents Québec’s Mi’gmaq said these consultations should’ve been done long ago.
“Those industries were wrongfully given permits to be there by the government, said Tanya Barnaby, executive director of the Mi’gmawei Secretariat.
“They happen to be in the line of fire, sort of speak, but really this is an issue that needs to be dealt with the Québec government.”
Barnaby said 80 percent of their territory has been leased out to oil and gas companies.
The three Mi’gmaq First Nations in Gaspé are already meeting to gauge the how the people want to proceed.
“We don’t know what the communities want and you can’t go ahead with exploration at this point without us knowing what our communities want,” said Barnaby.
“What do the citizens have to say about these kinds of things?”
Consultation or not, Stoneypoint said he lacks confidence in the band councils.
He said they showed little concrete support for the land protector camp
“If negotiations end with compromise, because of chief and council, I know that the traditional chiefs and the warriors will be more than ready to step in and throw down,” he said.
Whether or not Stoneypoint will be there to join them is unknown.
His next court date is in October.
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