The bridge over the Morice River at the Unist’ot’en camp as police arrive Friday morning. The truck was to be removed by Coastal GasLink contractors. (Twitter photo)

Hereditary chiefs negotiate injunction agreement

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs abide by interim injunction, but gate stays up. Still opposed.

After negotiations with the RCMP, hereditary chiefs from the Office of the Wet’suwet’en agreed to follow the terms of the interim injunction with a stipulation added that a metal gate can remain standing.

That gate will not be closed to Coastal GasLink workers trying to get in during the period of the temporary order, though. The order from B.C. Supreme Court lasts until May 1.

Chief Na’moks spoke to media after the negotiations ended Thursday afternoon.

Coastal GasLink president Rick Gateman was the first to speak as he left the Office of the Wet’suwet’en in Smithers. He said they were done negotiating for the day, despite Na’moks’ insistence there will be no agreement to allow a natural gas pipeline.

The RCMP sent out a news release that laid out the following conditions after nearly five hours of negotiations Thursday:

–From this point forward, the camp set up by the Unist’ot’en across the Morice River Bridge will be officially referred to as the Unist’ot’en Healing Centre;

–The temporary exclusion zone set up by the RCMP will be removed in the morning of Jan. 11 once access to the Morice River Bridge is established;

–There will be continued police presence conducting roving patrols of the Morice West Forest Service Road to ensure the safety of the individuals at the Healing Centre and of CGL employees;

–In our commitment to ensuring the safety and security of all individuals involved, a Community-Industry Safety Office (C-ISO) will be placed in the Morice West Forest Service Road corridor as a temporary RCMP detachment. It will remain in place as long as deemed necessary;

–Police officers working out of the C-ISO will be General Duty police officers and will undergo cultural awareness training on the Wet’suwet’en traditions and will have enhanced training in conflict resolution.

The hereditary chief for the Dark House whose territory was in question was at the Office of the Wet’suwet’en Thursday but declined to speak. He spoke at the courthouse when the temporary injunction was ruled on Dec. 14. Knedebeas (Warner William) said he fully supports the Unist’ot’en action, and spoke on past negotiations with the company.

“They say 45,000 hours consultation with hereditary chiefs. It’s not real consultation, they’re offering money: You sign this, do this and we’ll give you this much money. Is that consultation? That’s how they did it,” said Knedebeas.

He pointed to what he described as the damage done to areas around Fort St. John and Fort McMurray as something he hopes to avoid in northeast B.C. Knedebeas is also weary of what a pipeline could do to his territory, saying he hasn’t seen enough details on what will happen to the land.

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen, who is also the B.C. liaison for the federal NDP, coincidentally stopped in the Office of the Wet’suwet’en with his kids to drop off boxes of pastries to staff as the chiefs were making their statement.

Afterwards, he again called on the federal government to resolve the issue of Indigenous jurisdiction in B.C. Cullen said there is a concern that the federal government would only listen to the side — elected band or hereditary chiefs — that agreed with them.

Cullen also said he met with the Premier on the issue.

Premier Horgan said all Indigenous consultation requirements had been met. Cullen was asked by The Interior News if he disagreed with the Premier.

“No, I’m saying that the work done by the company on the hereditary side, the traditional form of government, needs more work clearly. That to reconcile, which is what we talk about, reconciliation, has some work between those two forms of government,” he responded.

READ MORE: International rallies in support of Wet’suwet’en LNG pipeline opposition

READ MORE: RCMP enforce pipeline injunction

READ MORE: Injunction extended to all LNG blockades south of Houston

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