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A Show of Unity and Solidarity

Elsipogtog benefit concert to raise funds and spirits

by Hillary Bain Lindsay

Concert organizer Shelley Young flanked two young warriors in Elsipogtog.  (Left to right, Aaron Francis, Sheley, Young, Chase Gould).  Photo: Nina Starr
Concert organizer Shelley Young flanked two young warriors in Elsipogtog. (Left to right, Aaron Francis, Sheley, Young, Chase Gould). Photo: Nina Starr

Organizers of the an Elsipogtog Benefit Concert on November 30th in Halifax hope the event will raise over $10,000*  to support those who are defending the land and water from fracking in New Brunswick.  But the benefit concert is about a lot more than money, says organizer Shelley Young, 'It's about bringing everyone together."

All summer and fall, a coalition of Mi'kmaq, Maliseet, Passamaquoddy, Acadian, and other Maritimers, have been resisting shale gas exploration by Texas-based SWN Resources.  Dozens of people have been arrested, and four warriors remain in jail.

The warriors, explains Young, are those who were protecting protesters from harm.  "To keep the peace," says Young. "And allow the protest to continue."

Young knows the warriors who are in jail - three of them are youth.  "They're good guys….They wanted to protect the land and water, that's all they talked about."  

"Myself and others, we want to show them we're not going to give up on them," says Young.  Part of the money raised by the concert will go to the warriors' legal defense and part to winter supplies - such as tents and warm clothes - for the ongoing protests.  

The event will include a fashion show, comedy, and music.  Aboriginal people are traveling from across Canada to participate.  " We wanted to showcase our Aboriginal talent from across Canada….we want to share our talent with our allies," says Young.

The concert will also be a show of appreciation for those that have been working tirelessly to stop fracking In New Brunswick.  "To give [the people of] Elsipogtog a break," says Young.  ""We want to make them laugh and show them that we appreciate their efforts."

Annie Clair's twenty-one year old son has been in jail since October 17.  "He has a daughter that's one year old," says Clair.  "His brothers and sisters are worried about him, and they miss him."

Clair has also been involved in the fight to protect the land and the water from fracking.  "We need water for everything," she says.  "We need water for the plants.  We need water for our children.  Water is sacred, and it's very important that we save it.  Not just the water, but the land too."  

"We can win," says Clair,  "But we need all the help we can get.  We can't do it alone."

Tickets for the benefit concert are available at the Good Food Emporium, or the Halifax Mi'kmaq Friendship Centre or the NECU office at Dalhousie University. Organizers are also selling tickets via EMT at elsibenefitconcert@gmail.com. 

*When this article was first published the goal was $20,000, but organizers have revised their goal to between $10,000 to $15,000.


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