First Nations LNG Alliance members Chief Dan George of the Ts’il Kaz Koh, Karen Ogen of the Wet’suwet’en and Chief Clifford White of the Gitxaala Nation after meeting NDP MLAs in Victoria, May 10, 2018. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

Wet’suwet’en elected council wants in on pipeline, B.C. land talks

Deal with Ottawa, Victoria leaves councils out, hereditary chiefs told

The elected chief and councillors of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation are asking to be included in discussions about the closed-door talks with the federal and provincial governments that resulted in a proposed settlement with hereditary chiefs and their land claims in northwest B.C.

Wet’suwet’en Chief Maureen Luggi and councillors Heather Nooski and Karen Ogen wrote to the Office of the Wet’suwet’en this week to remind hereditary chiefs of a 2016 agreement to include the Wet’suwet’en First Nation (WFN) and other elected councils in the territory. The Witset, Skin Tyee, Nee Tahi Buhn, Ts’il Kaz Koh (Burns Lake Band) and Hagwilget First Nation councils have supported the Coastal GasLink pipeline that a group of hereditary chiefs oppose.

“We regret that to date, WFN has not had any meaningful engagement or collaboration with the Office of the Wet’suwet’en,” the elected councillors’ March 2 letter states. “This has resulted in our people being divided on a number of issues. To ensure clan members and band members are adequately informed, we need to develop a plan to work together on natural resources, cultural, education, social services and shared jurisdiction issues.” (See full letter below)

B.C. Indigenous Relations Minister Scott Fraser and federal Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett have said their proposal to the hereditary chiefs won’t be disclosed until it is approved by the hereditary chiefs and their clans. Fraser and Premier John Horgan say the talks are about settling the long-standing Wet’suwet’en territorial claim, not the pipeline, which is fully permitted with work camps and right-of-way clearing underway.

Ogen is also CEO of the First Nations LNG Alliance, a group of area Indigenous communities supporting the gas pipeline and LNG project. After the proposed agreement with hereditary chiefs was reached last weekend, the alliance released a statement calling on Mohawk and environmental protesters to give them time to work out their differences.

“I think the NGOs, the protesters and the Mohawks can stand down,” Ogen said in the statement. “The Wet’suwet’en people got this.”

She noted that all 20 first nations along the Coastal GasLink route have approved the project and reached benefit agreements with the companies building what is estimated as a $40 billion investment.

RELATED: First Nations LNG Alliance cheers NDP deal for LNG Canada

RELATED: Hereditary chiefs, ministers reach proposed deal in dispute

Coastal GasLink will connect shale gas resources in northeast B.C. and northwest Alberta to a LNG Canada’s liquefied natural gas export facility at Kitimat. It has been hailed by Horgan and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as the largest private investment in Canadian history, and a way to displace more carbon-intensive fuels in Asia.

Letter to Office of Wetsuweten From WFN – March 2020 by Tom Fletcher on Scribd


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoastal GasLink

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

Just Posted

Nanaimo CAO named president of Canadian Association of Municipal Administrators

Jake Rudolph elected as CAMA president during association’s virtual AGM Tuesday

Infrastructure upgrades about to get underway on Bowen Road

Nighttime road work to start next Monday, June 8, between old Island Highway and Labieux Road

VIDEO: A Vancouver Island black bear takes weekend nap in eagle tree

Videos captured by Terry Eissfeldt shows the bear arriving Saturday night and sleeping in on Sunday

About 30% of B.C. students return to schools as in-class teaching restarts amid pandemic

Education minister noted that in-class instruction remains optional

Trudeau avoids questions about anti-racism protesters dispersed for Trump photo-op

Prime minister says racism is an issue Canadians must tackle at home, too

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Considerations made to keep Island community’s drive-by birthday celebrations going

Trucks will tone it down or not use horns at all to bring some joy to kids and older folks

RCMP, coroner investigate ‘unexpected deaths’ on Salt Spring Island

Two dead, police say there is no risk to the public

Summer tubing ban on Cowichan River lifted

The Tube Shack opening on June 27

NDP getting COVID-19 wage subsidy ‘indirectly,’ B.C. Liberal leader says

B.C. NDP says Andrew Wilkinson is wrong about federal link

Parent, superintendent, trustee report smooth return to classrooms in B.C.

The biggest challenge is convincing families that it’s safe, some say

Most Read