Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs optimistic ahead of talks

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

The Majagaleehl Gali Aks Elementary School in Hazelton is being shut down for a week by the Gitanmaax Band Council following a confirmation of a COVID-19 exposure there on Feb. 26. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Hazelton school COVID-19 closure extended one week

With spring break on horizon, Majagaleehl Gali Aks Elementary will be closed to end of March

BC CDC graphic showing weekly numbers of new cases by local health area.
Local health area records 11 new COVID-19 cases from Feb. 21 to 27

The Northwest has become the COVID hotspot in the province

The Smithers recycling depot was destroyed by fire May 9, 2019. (Thom Barker photo)
Curbside recycling pickup returns to Smithers

The Town will start collecting single stream, loose and clean residential recyclables April 12

Adam's Igloo sustained serious damage when the roof collapsed. (Facebook photo)
Roof collapses on Smithers landmark

Cleanup efforts underway at Adams Igloo and Wildlife Museum

Instructor and master artist Dempsey Bob (right) speaks to the crowd at the Terrace Art Gallery about the importance of cultural art on Feb. 7, 2020. Bob is a recipient of a 2021 Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts Artistic Achievement Award. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Northwest artist Dempsey Bob wins national art award

Renowned Tahltan-Tlingit master carver one of eight people to receive Governor General’s Arts Award

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels after found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
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

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Retired B.C. teacher and star CFL kicker charged for assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
One man shot dead on Vancouver Island in ‘targeted incident’

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

Personal protective equipment is seen in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
$16.9 million invested to improve worker safety, strengthen B.C.’s food supply chain

Money to be used for social distancing, personal protective equipment, cleaning, and air circulation

More than ever before, as pandemic conditions persist, the threat of data breaches and cyberattacks continues to grow, according to SFU professor Michael Parent. (Pixabay photo)
SFU expert unveils 5 ways the COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed cybersecurity

Recognizing these changes is the first in a series of steps to mitigate them once the pandemic ends, and before the next: Michael Parent

This photo of Cheryl-Lynn Townsin and her daughter, Lexi, is part of Townsin’s documentary, RARE HUMANS - Turning Hope into Action, her capstone project for her graduate degree from Royal Roads University. (Photo courtesy of Cheryl-Lynn Townsin)
Vancouver Island mom’s grief fuels documentary of ‘Turning Hope into Action’

Lexi, 6, died in 2019 from Blau Syndrome and is among the children documented

Most Read