Hereditary Chief Na’Moks addresses a crowd at Bovill Square in Smithers on Jan. 10. (Trevor Hewitt photo)

Hereditary chiefs say “we never will” support Coastal GasLink pipeline

Solidarity rally for Wet’suwet’en took place on Jan. 10 in Smithers

A rally in support of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs opposed to Coastal GasLink (CGL) developing on their traditional territory was held in Smithers Jan. 10.

Some 100 supporters came out in the cold temperatures and heavy snow to show their support for the cause, with supporters gathering at the Subway plaza at Highway 16 and Main and then marching down to Bovill Square where hereditary chief Na’Moks (John Ridsdale) addressed the crowd, thanking them for braving the snow and weather to make it out.

“Today when you stand with us we know the world stands with us,” he said, highlighting the just over a year it had been since the RCMP raided the Gidimt’en checkpoint on Jan. 7, 2019.

“What happened to the Wet’suwet’en and our supporters should never happen in a democratic free country,” he said.

“Any time you have an industry that is steering a government, whether it be provincial or federal, that is not democracy.”

Na’Moks once again stressed the herediary chiefs’ position that free, prior and informed consent was never obtained by CGL with regard to their proposed pipeline which passes through traditional Wet’suwet’en territory.

“The hereditary chiefs have never approved this project. We never have, we never will.”

Supporters carried posters with slogans such as “Our fragile ecosystem matters” and “Knock, knock, who’s there? UNDRIP.”

READ MORE: Wet’suwet’en evict Coastal GasLink from work site near Houston

Perry Rath is a teacher at Smithers Secondary School (SSS) and was one of the organizers of the event.

He said he and a few other settler friends decided to put together the event because it’s important to show solidarity to the Wet’suwet’en people whose traditional territory the Town of Smithers rests on.

“We’re in positions of privilege and we need to demonstrate our support for the position of the hereditary chiefs for their land title in this case,” Rath said.

“I see it as honouring the traditional governance of Wet’suwet’en society.”

The Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs’ dispute with CGL reached another head recently after the hereditary chiefs said they were exercising Wet’suwet’en law in sending CGL an eviction notice for their traditional territory on which CGL’s Camp 9A worksite is located.

The notice came following a B.C. Supreme Court ruling Dec. 31 to extend a temporary injunction allowing CGL access to the site.

On Jan. 7 — a year to the date the RCMP arrested 14 people at the Gidimt’en checkpoint while enforcing a previous temporary injunction — CGL posted an injunction order on their website which gives defendants 72 hours to clear the way to the work site. The injunction said CGL is at liberty to remove any obstructions not removed within 72 hours which are located on the roads or bridges.

The company has said its posting of the notice on their website was merely a procedural requirement of the injunction and that they have no plans to request RCMP action.

However at the solidarity rally Na’Moks cautioned that it wouldn’t just be the Bulkley Valley who would be observing CGL’s and the RCMP’s next moves.

“We never stand alone — the world is watching,” he said.

Solidarity rallies were also held in many other places around the province and across the country.



trevor.hewitt@interior-news.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Houston mill to re-open June 8

Ends lengthy shutdown which began in March

Fibre installation for South Hazelton begins

Citywest says it will install cable in the summer and home installations in the fall

Annual bird count thrills organizer

Count took place over 48 hours

B.C. government eyes antlerless moose harvest increase in bid to save caribou

Antlerless moose hunts reduce predation for threatened mountain caribou, says ministry

Major paving projects announced

Extends west of Smithers to east of Houston

March dental conference key to many of B.C.’s COVID-19 cases

Early infections from China, Iran were quickly contained

MAP: Dr. Henry reveals which B.C. regions have seen most COVID-19 cases

B.C. health officials release a first look at how the novel coronavirus has reached all corners of the province

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Seniors to receive up to $500 in promised COVID-19 emergency aid in early July

The Liberal government first promised the extra help in mid-May, but had to create a new system to deliver the aid

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

VIDEO: Revelstoke bear wanders into Animal House pet store

Staff got ready to chase it out with a broom

New study is first full list of species that only exist in Canada

Almost 40 per cent of them are critically imperilled or imperilled and eight are already extinct

Federal aid for care home systems needed ahead of second wave, advocates say

Ontario Long Term Care Association calling for more action

Most Read