Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs optimistic ahead of talks

Discussions with provincial and federal governments expected to start later today

The Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs are optimistic ahead of talks today with the federal and provincial governments over the construction of a natural gas pipeline running through their traditional territory.

“I’m quite positive. Ultimately we have to improve the relationship with Indigenous people and each of the provinces in Canada, as well as Canada itself. That’s the goal,” said hereditary chief Na’moks (John Ridsdale).

The meeting comes amid continuing protests and road and rail blockades across the country, including at the B.C. Legislature this week. The protests have been ongoing since early February in opposition to the Coastal GasLink (CGL), a 670-kilometre natural gas pipeline being built through Wet’suwet’en traditional lands.

Na’moks said it’s still premature to speculate when the blockades will end.

“Most of them [supporters] are awaiting us to request it. If they see progress then things will quickly deescalate. We just ask that things remain peaceful.”

READ MORE: RCMP cease patrols on Morice West Service Road

The talks were briefly canceled after a misscomunication last night but rescheduled within hours. Na’moks said he will have questions over the cause of that blunder.

Attending the talks in Smithers today will be Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett and her provincial counterpart, B.C. Indigenous Relations Minister Scott Fraser.

All five Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs disputing the pipeline construction will be in attendance but Na’moks said they expect only to “set the stage” today for meetings anticipated to continue all day Friday.

“I’m not going to be up here burning the midnight oil when they should have been here long before,” Na’moks said. “They should have done this in 1997 when we finished the Delgamuukw court case. They just put it on the shelf and look at the position we’re in now.”

Earlier today the RCMP announced they will cease patrols of the Morice West Service Road during the talks.

READ MORE: Coastal GasLink agrees to two-day pause of pipeline construction in Morice River area

CGL also announced a two-day pause on pre-construction of the pipeline in the Morice River area.

These two conditions were critical for the hereditary chiefs to begin talks with the provincial and federal governments.

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

Just Posted

Cullen confirmed as B.C. NDP candidate for Stikine despite party’s equity policy

Former Tahltan Central Government President Annita McPhee said the process made her feel “abused”

Who is or may be running in Stikine in the provincial election

Cullen nomination sparks controversy over NDP equity policy

Citing stability, B.C. Premier calls snap election for Oct. 24

John Horgan meets with Lieutenant Governor to request vote

Witset releases COVID-19 strategy following three confirmed cases

Plan implements strict measures to contain spread of the virus

Meet the 10-year-old girl who grew a pineapple in northern B.C.

Emily Atkins discovers it takes a lot of patience to grow tropical fruit in a temperate climate

B.C. reports 91 new cases as officials remain worried over ‘clusters of COVID-19

There have now been a total of 8,395 cases in B.C. since the pandemic began

Canada’s active COVID-19 cases top 10,000 as daily new cases triple over the past month

Dr. Tam repeated her warning to young people, who have made up the majority of recent cases

First 8 months of fatal overdoses in B.C. have now exceeded 2019 death toll

Nine people died every two days in August, BC Coroners Service data shows

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Liberal effort to reset policy agenda panned by rivals as too much talk, not action

Trudeau said it’s ‘all too likely’ families won’t be able to gather for Thanksgiving next month

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

‘Show us the money’ for cannabis, local governments tell B.C.

Municipal tax, transit revenues falling as costs rise

‘It’s a boy’: Southern Resident killer whale calf born to J Pod is healthy, researchers say

J35 had previously done a ‘Tour of Grief,’ carrying her dead calf for 17 days

People ‘disgusted’ by COVID-19 election call, B.C. Liberal leader says

Andrew Wilkinson speaks to municipal leaders from Victoria

Most Read