Locals lend support to Wet’suwet’en

By Andru McCracken


Dunster resident Eric Gauthier has been part of regional protests / Photo Submitted

Progress appears to be being made on an indigenous rights and title dispute near Houston, BC that has paralyzed rail networks across the country.

Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chief Woos, Scott Fraser, B.C.’s Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, and Carolyn Bennett, federal Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations issued a joint statement that we are reproducing in full here:

“Over the past three days, we have had frank and substantive discussions, guided by Wiggus (respect), on issues around Wet’suwet’en rights and title.

These talks focused on two separate topics – the recognition of Wet’suwet’en rights and title throughout the Yintah (territory) and the issues arising out of the Coastal GasLink (CGL) project. The topics were discussed separately.

With respect to rights and title, the parties focused intensely on commitments to an expedited process to implement Wet’suwet’en rights and title. The result of these discussions was a draft arrangement that will be reviewed by the Wet’suwet’en clan members through Wet’suwet’en governance protocols for ratification.

If ratified, Minister Fraser and Minister Bennett have agreed to return to Wet’suwet’en territory to sign. If ratified, the parties agreed to implement title on an expedited basis, to co-ordinate how we work together.

This arrangement for the Wet’suwet’en will breathe life into the Delgamuukw-Gisday’wa decision so that future generations do not have to face conflicts like the one they face today.

As the late chief Wah tah Kwets (Pat Namox) said in the Delgamuukw case, ‘It is up to us to create a new memory in the minds of our children.’

On the Coastal GasLink project, the parties engaged in direct discussions and explored means to come to a resolution. The Province agreed to provide further information on the project. All parties at the table recognize that the differences relating to the CGL project remain.”

Seth MacDonald, a resident of Dunster, has deep connections to the Wet’suwet’en; he and some like-minded friends considered taking direct action in the Robson Valley but felt there wasn’t enough support.

“I’m human and I’m afraid. I lack the courage. I just didn’t feel we had the numbers. I didn’t see how it would be effective,” he said.

MacDonald did however make a trek to Prince George to demonstrate support of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs.

He is happy with recent developments and news that the provincial and federal governments are recognizing rights and title on Wet’suwet’en land.

“It’s wonderful; it took way too long,” he said. “All these rail blockades could have been avoided.”

MacDonald isn’t sure if peace will reign as a result of the talks.

“Call it a ceasefire,” he said.

At the demonstration in Prince George, he guesses 80% of people supported them and another 20% were vehemently opposed. MacDonald watched social media respond to coverage of the event uneasily.

“The hate is horrifying; we’re exposing white supremacists and racists.”

MacDonald had a sign on his Dunster property at the end of River Road sporting an upside down Canadian flag with ‘wreck and silly nation’ written on it, a play on ‘reconciliation.’ He took it down because he believes some progress is being made through the talks.

Another sign accusing the RCMP and CGL of being in violation of the rule of law is still up.

“The hate is horrifying, we’re exposing white supremecists and racists.”

MacDonald had a sign on his Dunster property at the end of River Road sporting an upside down Canadian flag with ‘wreck and silly nation’ written on it, a play on ‘reconciliation.’ He took it down because he believes some progress is being made through the talks.

Another sign accusing the RCMP and CGL of being in violation of the rule of law is still up.

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