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

Autism Awareness Day highlights challenges amid COVID-19

AutismBC regional coordinator in Kelowna discusses living with autism amid a pandemic

UPDATE: Good Samaritan delivers stolen sentimental mail

Some items stolen from boxes in the BX area were returned to the rightful owner

WATCH: Armstrong retirement community adapts amid COVID-19

Heaton Place rethinks programming to ensure residents stay safe, healthy and entertained

BREAKING: Inmate at Okanagan Correctional Centre tests positive for COVID-19

This is B.C.’s first community outbreak at a corrections facility

Answer your phone, Vernon school district says

No caller ID or unknown callers could be your child’s teacher reaching out

Trudeau rejects mandatory stay-at-home order for now; COVID deaths up

The virus has now infected more than 10,000 Canadians and cost 130 their lives

B.C. health care workers gain access to virtual health care options

During COVID-19 many clinics have closed, leaving health care workers with nowhere to turn

Tax collectors, auditors to help field ‘historic’ numbers of benefit-seeking callers

‘If you work for CRA, people think we are just there to take money from your pockets.’

Cowichan couple won’t self-isolate after returning from overseas

New law requires 14 days of self-isolation when returning to Canada

Family uses social media to help truckers find places to eat during pandemic

Restaurants Serving Drivers in Western Canada seeks to provide a list of places open for drivers

Advocates sound alarm over COVID-19 limiting access to contraceptives, abortion

The COVID-19 outbreak has hit sexual-health services from almost every angle

‘We’re working to help every Canadian’: Minister of Middle Class Prosperity

Minister Mona Fortier explains she is working with all levels of government amid COVID-19

Two planes come into close contact above Kelowna

The incident occurred between a WestJet flight and a private plane back in 2019

Most Read