Elsipogtog First Nation

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Elsipogtog First Nation
Elsipogtog Health Center
Elsipogtog Health Center
Elsipogtog First Nation is located in New Brunswick
Elsipogtog First Nation
Elsipogtog First Nation
Location of Elsipogtog First Nation in New Brunswick
Coordinates: 46°35′48″N 64°58′50″W / 46.59667°N 64.98056°W / 46.59667; -64.98056Coordinates: 46°35′48″N 64°58′50″W / 46.59667°N 64.98056°W / 46.59667; -64.98056
Country Canada
Province New Brunswick
County Kent County
Established 1805
 • Chief Arren Sock
 • MP Dominic LeBlanc (L)
 • MLA Brian Gallant (L)
 • Total 17.72 km2 (6.84 sq mi)
Lowest elevation 0 m (0 ft)
Time zone Atlantic (AST) (UTC-4)
 • Summer (DST) ADT (UTC-3)
NTS Map 021I10

The Elsipogtog First Nation /ɛlzɪˈbʊktʊk/, formerly called the Big Cove Band, is a Mi'kmaq First Nation band government in New Brunswick, Canada. The First Nation's territory comprises Richibucto Reserve #15, lying 8 kilometres southwest of Rexton, New Brunswick on the Richibucto River off of Route 116.[1] It also comprises Soegao Reserve #35, lying 5 kilometres west of Moncton, New Brunswick. As of 2012, the Mi'kmaq population is 2,383 on-Reserve, and 709 off-Reserve.[2]


"Elsipogtog" or "L'sipuktuk" means "River of Fire". The area was also called the stronghold of Sikniktuk. The traditional district was assigned to the Mi'kmaq clan of Alguimou, or L'kimu. Misel Alguimou was baptised Michael Augustine in the 18th century. Chief Michael Augustine signed the Peace and Friendship Treaty with the British in 1761, on behalf of the Richibucto Tribe of Mi'kmaq. The Richibucto Reserve was established in 1802 and later reduced in size. Richibucto Reserve # 15 is also known as the Big Cove Reserve. It was also called Big Cove, Mesigig Oalnei, and currently known as Elsipogtog (Pacifique spelling), or L'sipuktuk (Francis-Smith variation) and Elsipogtog First Nation located in Weldford Parish, New Brunswick

Suicide rate[edit]

In 1992, there were seven suicides involving youth and over 75 suicide attempts in the community. An inquest was held and one of the recommendations was the creation of a position at the school to help support the youth in the community.[3][4] The Elsipogtog Crisis Centre was also established in 1992 to help combat the high amount of suicides in the community.[5]

Youth justice system[edit]

In 1995, the community held a Justice Awareness Day that led to the creation of a justice alternative for youth. This was due to the high youth suicide rate in Elsipogtog and the high percentage of their youth in the court system. The Elsipogtog Restorative Justice Program includes pre- and post-charge diversion system, mediation, group conferencing programs, and sentencing circles. The program allows the community to "decide what [is] best for itself in terms of resolving wrongdoing...by striving to resolve the effects of an offender's behaviour.[3]

Present day[edit]

The community has one school, Elsipogtog School, which has students from kindergarten to grade 8. Elsipogtog has a fire station, and a Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachment which is open throughout the week.[6]

Protest Against A Shale-gas Project[edit]

In May 2013, members of Elsipogtog First Nation demonstrated their concern over the proposed shale-gas project and 2D seismic imaging done near their reserve by SWN Resources Canada [7] a subsidiary of Southwestern Energy Company. Workers were on site to conduct seismic exploration that uses sound wave technology to create images underground shale beds that might contain natural gas. Many residents voiced their concerns about the planned hydraulic fracturing (fracking) through social media. Throughout the Spring, Summer and Fall of 2013, protesters were blocking SWN Resources Canada workers from accessing their seismic equipment. They blocked Route 116, 134, Hwy 11 On July 24, 2013, a video was recorded of a First Nations protester strapping herself to bundles of Geophones and other equipment used by SWN Resources Canada for seismic testing on the site.[8] She slowed down the workers access to the equipment until the RCMP removed her later that day.[9] On Sept 29th SWN's trucks were blocked by a mystery van and protesters gathered round in support. Shortly after a sacred fire was lit and maintained by a 12-year-old boy who watched over the prayers of the people. On October 1, 2013, a video was recorded of Elsipogtog First Nation Chief Arren James Sock delivering an eviction notice to SWN Resources Canada while dozens of protesters continued to block Route 134 in Rexton to prevent SWN Resources Canada from moving their exploration equipment.[10]

On October 7, 2013, a video was recorded of Elsipogtog First Nation Chief Arren James Sock and Premier David Alward faced the media regarding the blockage of the shale gas research and the injunction regarding the blockade.[11]

On Thursday October 17, 2013, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, moved in to enforce a court injunction against a road blockade by shale-gas and fracking protesters. The situation "exploded in violence, sending dozens of people to jail and reducing five police cars to smouldering ruins".[12] The RCMP said "more than 40 protesters were arrested for various offences including firearms offences, uttering threats, intimidation, mischief and for refusing to abide by a court injunction".[13] T.J. Burke, the lawyer for the Elsipogtog First Nation, confirmed Chief Arren Sock was among those arrested in the clash. "Chief Arren Sock and a few of his band council members were released a few hours after their arrests".[13] On Oct 18th SWN applied for an indefinite injunction against a list of people including John and Jane Doe. Judge Rideout denied this injunction. On 29 November 2013, the shale gas protest caused five men to be arrested by the RCMP.[14] Another report on the same day stated that 15 protesters were jailed for throwing rocks at vehicles.[15] Numerous arrests continue to occur in 2014, which the people feel is a strong-arm attempt by the RCMP to discourage protesters.


Elsipogtog First Nation is composed of two parts as shown:

Community Area Location Population Date established
Richibucto 15 1,667.3 hectares (4,120 acres) 8 km. southwest of Rexton 1,985 September 9, 1805
Soegao 35 104.732 hectares (258.80 acres) 5 km. west of Moncton 0 May 29, 2008


Richibucto 15[edit]

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ [1], Indian and Northern Affairs, retrieved September 8, 2008.
  2. ^ Registered population
  3. ^ a b Bell, Sandra Jean (2012). Young Offenders and Youth Justice: A Century After the Fact. Record Research, Inc. p. 347. ISBN 978-0-17-650174-7. 
  5. ^ Elsipogtog Crisis Centre
  6. ^ Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada: Elsipogtog Profile
  7. ^ SWN Resources Canada.2013 http://www.swnnb.ca/about.html#about-us
  8. ^ "Elsipogtog:I am protecting the land and waters July 24, 2013". Chris Sabas. Youtube.com. July 24, 2013 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07OxXf3-jDQ
  9. ^ "Elsipogtog: An offering and a promise July 24, 2013".Chris Sabas. Youtube.com. July 24, 2013. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQmWYnm-QQk
  10. ^ "First Nations chief issues eviction notice to SWN Resources". Irving Peter Paul Youtube.com October 1, 2013. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZMuP0-7G8cM
  11. ^ "Elsipogtog First Nation Chief: Arren James Sock and New Brunswick Premier David Alward face the media" Charles LeBlanc. Youtube.com October 7, 2013 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FbmGXYCatC0
  12. ^ "'Nobody is leaving,' N.B. native protesters vow after clash with RCMP turns violent". Gloria Galloway And Jane Taber. Globe & Mail. October 17, 2013. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/rcmp-move-in-on-first-nation-protesting-shale-gas-development/article14904344/?cmpid=rss1
  13. ^ a b "RCMP, protesters withdraw after shale gas clash in Rexton". CBC.ca October 17, 2013. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/rcmp-protesters-withdraw-after-shale-gas-clash-in-rexton-1.2100703
  14. ^ cbc.ca 29 Nov 2013: "Anti-shale gas protest closes Highway 11 in N.B. for hours"
  15. ^ NP 29 Nov 2013: "N.B. shale gas protest turns violent as rocks hurled at police vehicles"
  16. ^ Census 2011
  17. ^ Statistics Canada: 1996, 2001, 2006 census