One of several memes that have been created, among many images emerging from the Mi'kmaq protests by Elsipogtog First Nation and others who are against shale gas exploration that could lead to fracking in New Brunswick.

10 Must-Share Images, Scenes and Far-Flung Shows of Support in the Mi'kmaq Anti-Fracking Protest


A judge has lifted the injunction against Mi’kmaq anti-fracking protesters in New Brunswick, but those arrested in last week’s protests in New Brunswick were still being held late Tuesday pending their court appearances.

As Elsipogtog First Nation Chief Aaren Sock called for a cooling-off period in the wake of the violent protests late last week against shale gas exploration near the band’s territory, videos surfaced of the melee, along with conflicting accounts.

RELATED: Police in Riot Gear Tear-Gas and Shoot Mi'kmaq Protesting Gas Exploration in New Brunswick

The RCMP said they had confiscated arms and other weapons. Many who were at the protest, though, said it was the police who started the conflagration, moving in stealthily, clad in camouflage fatigues, surrounding the peaceful protesters as they slept. Video shows a chaotic scene, with people screaming at the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) to stop pointing guns and call off their dogs. The protest had proceeded peacefully for weeks. 

RELATED: First Nation Moves to Evict Fracking Co. From Lands Held in Trust

Support continued to pour in as well, with celebrities such as Susan Sarandon chiming in with a tweet about the protests, which came to a head on Thursday October 17 with police cars burning, Molotov cocktails allegedly thrown and rubber bullets fired. All but nine of the 40 people arrested were released. Nine are awaiting various court appearances, but funds are being raised to post bail.

RELATED: Molotov Cocktails & Guns Confiscated; Support Pours in for Mi'kmaq Protesters

Provoked or no, this fight was well witnessed and well documented, thanks to modern technology that allowed gripping images and video to be broadcast in real time as events unfolded. Below are 10 of the most dramatic moments from that fateful day and its aftermath. 

1. The Conflict

This footage taken at some point during the conflict shows heavily armed police moving in and even tackling some people.

2. The Eagle Feather

The woman in this iconic photo has since been revealed as Amanda Polchies, armed with nothing but an eagle feather before a wall of blue.

Amanda Polchies holds an eagle feather to a group of advancing RCMP officers. (Photo: Ossie Michelin, APTN reporter)

3. The Women

Women, charged with caretaking the water, were at the forefront of this protest. With their children standing by, they fearlessly faced down police.

4. The Burning Police Cars

This photo, which people snapped from their television screens and posted on Twitter and other social media, was the type of action that the RCMP used to justify its actions. However, numerous people said that the cars only started burning after the arrest of Sock and his tribal council.

5. The Tactics

As police poured into the sleeping camp, some crouched down in the fields, wearing fatigues, and aimed what looked like rifles. The Mi’kmaq, according to reports, had been conducting a blockade for weeks that let local traffic through and merely kept SWN Resources Canada from accessing its equipment to conduct seismic tests for oil and gas reserves. With SWN losing $60,000 a day, police decided not to wait for a hearing on the injunction, which had told the Mi’kmaq to stand down and cease blockading. Instead the RCMP moved in to enforce the injunction.

6. The Force

Reports flew of rubber bullets being fired and tear gas lobbed by police, as did accounts of people being kicked and otherwise roughed up. These people were hosed down.

7. The Wounds

As reports of the RCMP’s tactics surfaced, so did photos and allegations of police brutality. Here, Mi’kmaq lawyer Amy Sock reveals bruises she said she received while in custody. 

8. The Support

Spontaneous demonstrations were held throughout Turtle Island all through the ensuing weekend and into Monday, as far away as Vancouver and New York City. This march in Vancouver was just one such show of support.

9. The Celebs

At least one celebrity, movie star and staunch rights and environmental activist Susan Sarandon, spoke out in support of the protests and the Mi’kmaq. Sarandon did so via Twitter.

10. The Memes

The inevitable memes surfaced, one using the famed eagle feather shot to contrast the RCMP's level of attention to missing women with the attention being given to live, accounted-for Mi'kmaq women who were causing trouble. 

RELATED: Download This Anti-Fracking Protest Poster by Artist Gregg Deal

Another noted the irony of a phalanx of drumb-beating women being met by RCMP anti-riot officers toting rifles and sporting combat gear. 



Bradley Wabi-Mukwa's picture
Bradley Wabi-Mukwa
Submitted by Bradley Wabi-Mukwa on

I heard the Miigwun-Kwe(FeatherWoman) in aptn's Ossie Michelin's iconic photo was Amanda Polchies...

John McKeon's picture
John McKeon
Submitted by John McKeon on

Great iconic photographs of the Elsipogtog resistance. I would suggest adding to the collection the photo of the line of women face to face with the line of RCMP. It was on a fb post with link to the CBC article titled "N.B. Anti Fracking Protest..." That photo said it all to me.

Kam'ayaam's picture
Submitted by Kam'ayaam on

I also celebrity support from Mark Ruffalo (@Mruff221) and Daryl Hannah (@dhlovelife)

Duke Gamble's picture
Duke Gamble
Submitted by Duke Gamble on

We fully support the anti-fracking anti-earth-destroying movement. Stop the greed madness.

Richard Lucier-larson ( Metis)'s picture
Richard Lucier-...
Submitted by Richard Lucier-... on

This was one of the most cowardly actions I have ever seem, we now refer to the R C M P as Harper's Storm Troopers.
I do hope they have learned a lesson, the shame is this was carried out by the Storm Troopers for a foreign Company. It will take a long time,if ever for natives to trust the R C M P and the Government of New Brunswick.
Many of us have switched to using Turtle Island North ( Formerly canada)

Elaine Kinder's picture
Elaine Kinder
Submitted by Elaine Kinder on

I thought Canada was a democracy but guess not. This is outrageous.

Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous on

picture number 10...RCMP will not help locate missing women but will stand against them..

Michael Graf 's picture
Michael Graf
Submitted by Michael Graf on

Maybe one day our noble and Historically couragus RCMP will realize what serve and protect really mean,

Howard Boyer's picture
Howard Boyer
Submitted by Howard Boyer on

Plutocracy Fascism is- Free Trade agreements-Freedom is never Free-Give me Liberty or Give me Death.