The Elsipogtog protest against fracking seems to be over for everyone except Mi’kmaq men Aaron Francis and Germaine Jr. Breau who have been held in custody since the RCMP raid on October 17th 2013. The two men have been held without trial for the last three months and according to Suzanne Patles the Southeast Regional Correctional Center in Shediac, New Brunswick has been denying their requests for spiritual assistance.
Correctional facilities in Canada have policies to give indigenous prisoners access to sacred bundles and medicine bags. This specific facility said they do not allow traditional ceremonies such as prayer and smudging with sage despite the constitutional rights provided in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Under human rights law, Correctional Service Canada has a duty to accommodate Aboriginal spirituality to the point of undue hardship. From 1867 to 1945, the Canadian government made it illegal for Indigenous Nations to practice their spiritual and cultural traditions.
The family and friends of these two men are asking for people to call prison superintendent Jonah Brian (506) 532-7885 and demand spiritual access for Aaron Francis and Germaine Jr. Breau. The political prisoners can be written to at 435 Lino Rd. Shediac, NB E4P 0H6, Canada.