joann_deckNAPF Peace Leadership Director Paul Chappell spoke in December 2013 in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada on the principles of nonviolence at the workshop on Building Non-Violent Indigenous Rights Movements. Held at the Wabanaki Resource Center at St. Thomas University and sponsored by the Wabanaki Confederacy and The Land Peace Foundation, the first part of this workshop focused on how nonviolence training could be applied to the current struggle against fracking as Indigenous tribes resist the Government of New Brunswick’s appropriation of tribal lands for shale gas exploration.

Chappell discussed both the philosophy of nonviolence and the actions of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. He also explored the history of different kinds of nonviolent protests.

“I was inspired to learn how Gandhi stood up for himself, with strength and nonviolence and was able to move so many people to action,” said Juisen Bartibogue, Mi’kmaq Nation, 19, of Burnt Church, New Brunswick. “I saw how nonviolence is the only way for us to be able to achieve our goals and to make a lasting peace.”

Attorney Sherri Mitchell, a graduate of the summer 2013 NAPF Peace Leadership training, spoke during the second half of the workshop on strategy building for unified movements. A member of the Penobscot Tribe and executive director of the Land Peace Foundation, Mitchell has been an advocate for indigenous rights for over two decades, working to protect the rights of her own tribe and those of Indigenous people across the Americas.

Mitchell said, “The battle over dwindling resources has caused aggressive attacks on Indigenous rights and these workshops will provide the practical skills to create strong and effective opposition to these attacks.”