Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde is joined by First Nations leaders as they discuss the current situation and actions relating to the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs during a press conference at the National Press Theatre in Ottawa on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

It’s up to all Wet’suwet’en people to work through agreement: Bellegarde

The focus of the draft agreement is Wet’suwet’en rights and land title

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde says it’s up to all Wet’suwet’en people to work through the draft agreement struck on Sunday between their hereditary chiefs and senior Canadian officials.

The agreement is the result of four days of negotiations, held in response to the hereditary chiefs’ opposition to the construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline in northern British Columbia that sparked solidarity protests and blockades across the country.

A joint statement by representatives of Wet’suwet’en Nation, the province and the federal government acknowledged they had not come to an agreement on the pipeline, and the company was expected to resume its work this week.

But they say the focus of the draft agreement is Wet’suwet’en rights and land title.

Bellegarde says it’s an opportunity to resolve unsettled issues dating back to a 1997 Supreme Court of Canada decision that recognized the hereditary chiefs’ authority and the exclusive right of Wet’suwet’en peoples to the land, but fell short of recognizing the territorial boundaries.

He says it’s up to Wet’suwet’en people themselves to find the balance between hereditary chiefs and elected chiefs, which will take time, and those talks should include all those in the community.

“They haven’t had this formalized since 1997 (with) the Delgamuukw-Gisday’way decision,” Bellegarde told The Canadian Press on Wednesday after delivering a keynote address during a seminar on the repatriation of Indigenous cultural objects and ancestral remains at the University of British Columbia.

“It’s important for them to have that time and space to bear fruit from this agreement and that’s the dialogue I’ve had with the prime minister.”

Aboriginal rights and title are already recognized and affirmed through many Supreme Court decisions, Bellegarde added.

“Let’s get the executive and legislative branches of government, start to keep up with judicial branch is saying.”

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

READ MORE: Five arrested after refusing to leave B.C. Legislature building

READ MORE: Wet’suwet’en chiefs, ministers reach proposed agreement in B.C. pipeline dispute

The Canadian Press


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

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Nanaimo chef the Sensitive Vegan takes tongue-in-cheek approach to serious cooking

Jesse Rubboli creates cassava-based recipes and shares them via YouTube and on social media

Resident helps man in distress in Departure Bay in the middle of the night

Seven-foot-tall resident able to wade out far enough to help ‘frantic’ man in the water

Crash causes injuries, traffic tie-ups in downtown Nanaimo

Accident happened Friday at 12:15 p.m. at Terminal Avenue and Comox Road

Gabriola skatepark project gets $567,000 infrastructure grant

Federal and provincial governments providing money for Huxley Park amenities

B.C. Supreme Court dismisses claim against Island Corridor Foundation

Snaw-Naw-As (Nanoose) First Nation was seeking return of reserve land as railway sits unused

PHOTOS: B.C.’s top doc picks up personalized Fluevog shoes, tours mural exhibition

Murals of Gratitude exhibit includes at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers

In troubled times: Independence Day in a land of confusion

Buffeted by invisible forces and just plain worn out, the United States of America celebrates its 244th birthday

Stop enforcing sex work laws during COVID-19, advocates say

There are provisions in Canada’s prostitution laws that make workers immune from prosecution, but not from arrest

Liberal party finished 2019 having spent $43 million, raised $42 million

All political parties had until midnight June 30 to submit their financial reports for last year

B.C. teacher loses licence after sexual relationships with two recently-graduated students

The teacher won’t be allowed to apply for a teaching certificate until 2035

White-throated sparrows have changed their tune, B.C. study unveils

Study marks an unprecedented development scientists say has caused them to sit up and take note

Colour and culture being painted onto plaza stairs in downtown Nanaimo

City commissions Humanity in Art muralists for ‘artistic intervention’ project

Nanaimo’s newest skatepark now open for use in Harewood

Harewood Centennial Park amenity opens on schedule

Two injured hikers airlifted from North Vancouver Island Park

Campbell River and Comox Search and Rescue hoist team rescued the injured from Cape Scott Provincial Park

Most Read