Premier John Horgan, left, shares a laugh with with Chief Na’Moks (John Ridsdale) during a smoke feast in Witset March 16 held to announce a new round of discussions on Indigenous rights and title between the Wet’suwet’en and Province of British Columbia. (Thom Barker photo)

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs agree to sit down with Province at ‘Wiggus’ table

The Province issued a statement saying it welcomed the announcement as a positive sign

The hereditary chiefs have agreed to sit down with the Province for discussions surrounding their dispute with Coastal GasLink (CGL).

In a Jan. 30 press release signed by eight separate chiefs the Office of the Wet’suwet’en said that the discussions would take place for a period of seven days.

It’s unclear if the discussions will begin immediately but The Interior News has reached out to both the Province and Office of the Wet’suwet’en to confirm.

The hereditary chiefs have maintained on multiple occasions that no development can take place on their unceded territory without free, prior and informed consent, which they say they have not given at any time to CGL.

READ MORE: RCMP pipeline checkpoint ‘arbitrary and discriminatory,’ say B.C. complainants

However they have also maintained a desire to de-escalate and resolve the situation in a peaceful manner.

“The discussion table will be known as ‘Wiggus’, the Wet’suwet’en word for respect,” the release says.

“In the landmark Supreme Court Decision of Delgamuukw Gisday’wa Wiggus [was] defined as ‘respect for all living-beings, starting with oneself.’”

The news comes after almost a month of increased tension following a Dec. 31 interlocutory injunction which upheld the previous injunction enforced on Jan. 7, 2019 by RCMP officers at the Gidimt’en checkpoint.

“We are proud, progressive Wet’suwet’en dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of our culture, traditions and territories; working as one for the betterment of all,” the Wet’suwet’en release concludes.

In a seperate release the Office of the Premier said it saw the announcement as a step forward.

“This Wiggus/Respect Table is an opportunity for all parties to work in good faith towards de-escalation, and we view this announcement as a positive sign that all involved are determined to find a peaceful resolution.”



trevor.hewitt@interior-news.com

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