Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs optimistic ahead of talks with feds, province

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs optimistic ahead of talks with feds, province

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.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coastal GasLinkIndigenousPipeline

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

Just Posted

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross has been named critic for Environment and Climate Change Strategy for the BC Liberals. (Black Press file photo)
Skeena MLA Ellis Ross named critic for Environment and Climate Change Strategy

Previously, Ross was the critic for LNG, Resource Opportunities, and Responsible Development

Red sky in morning: an early-morning sunrise on May 16, 2020, captured just north of Kitimat. (Eric Roy photo)
Clare’s Corner: Hello, darkness, my old friend

Why does the after-work darkness affect you so much more as an adult than as a child?

(Corrado Colombo photo)
Corrado Colombo, with his wife, Lucy. Colombo is from Italy, but met Kitimat born-and-raised Lucy on one of his annual fishing trips to Kitimat in the early 2000s.
In Our Valley: Corrado Colombo

Corrado Colombo never expected that an annual fishing trip to Kitimat would change his life

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest weekend of COVID-19 pandemic with 46 deaths; more than 2,300 cases

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides COVID-19 update

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Christy Jordan-Fenton is the co-author of the book Fatty Legs, which has been mentioned amid the controversy of an Abbotsford school assignment on residential schools.
Fatty Legs co-author responds to Abbotsford class assignment on residential schools

Children’s book mentioned amid controversy at W. A. Fraser Middle School

Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka takes over as energy and mines critic for the B.C. Liberal opposition. Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick (right) moves from health critic to assistant deputy speaker. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals pick critics to take on Horgan’s NDP majority

Interim leader Shirley Bond takes seniors, long-term care

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland listens to a question from a reporter on the phone during a news conference in Ottawa, Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Spending too little worse than spending too much, Freeland says as Canada’s deficit tops $381B

‘The risk of providing too little support now outweighs that of providing too much’

Still from a video surveillance camera of a man alleged to have stolen from several people at knife-point in Chilliwack (Rosedale) early on Nov. 28, 2020. (Facebook)
B.C. man defends his family against intruder, saves neighbour while wielding hockey stick

RCMP looking for footage that captures violent crime spree in Chilliwack

Harbour seals rest on log booms at Flavelle Mill in Port Hardy. With recent announcements the mill will be getting rid of the log booms, Dr. David Rosen sees an opportunity to study how the disappearance of this highly-frequented refuge for the seals will alter their behaviour in Burrard Inlet. (Photo supplied by David Rosen)
What the heck is going on with marine mamals in Vancouver waterways?

UBC researcher asks why they’re returning, and what role we’re playing

Jim Neufeld, 55, was last seen leaving his home in Penticton Jan. 21, 2009. (RCMP photo)
Human remains found off U.S. coast in 2009 identified as Penticton man

Jim Neufeld, 55, was last seen leaving his home in Penticton Jan. 21, 2009

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond speaks to a reporter in Vancouver on November 13, 2015. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
No evidence that B.C. ER staff played blood alcohol level game, but Indigenous racism ‘widespread’

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond releases findings of independent investigation

Most Read