The Elsipogtog Mi’kmaq First Nation is laying claim to a large parcel of land in southeastern New Brunswick.
The land claim, filed in provincial court on Wednesday by first people’s lawyer Bruce McIvor, covers roughly one third of the province.
“The claim itself includes the land, the rivers, the lakes, the air, the skies, the oceans, everything,” McIvor said.
The Aboriginal title claim has been made on behalf of the entire Mi’kmaq first nation, and asks that the court confirm they hold the rights to the large portion of the province.
The land claim comes at a time when indigenous people are repeatedly raising concerns about government decisions pertaining to lands and water in Mi’kmaq territory.
Three years ago, violent protests erupted in the community over shale gas development. First Nations communities opposed to fracking felt they were not properly consulted.
“During the time that Elsipogtog and surrounding areas decided that they did not want shale gas in New Brunswick, it’s essentially a continuation of that,” Chief Arren Stock said Wednesday.
Kenneth Francis, who represents Elsipogtog on resource development, is heading up the land claim initiative.
“There have been no real effort by the governments to engage us in these things, you say, ‘how do we get them to the table?'” Francis said.
“Well we file aboriginal title, to claim the land is ours, and maybe they will come to the table.”
Global News reached out to the provincial government for reaction to the claim, but they say they cannot comment on matters before the courts.