Wet'suwet'en chiefs, government ministers draft rights and title arrangement

Mar 1 2020, 4:59 pm

Government ministers have reached a tentative agreement on rights and title with a group of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs fighting construction of a gas pipeline in their traditional territory.

Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chief Woos, B.C.’s Minister of Indigenous Relations Scott Fraser, and federal Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Carolyn Bennett released a joint statement Sunday following three days of negotiations.

Their discussions centred on two topics:

  • Recognition of Wet’suwet’en rights and title throughout their traditional territory (called Yintah in Wet’suwet’en)
  • Coastal GasLink’s pipeline that would cross their territory on its way to bring product to port in Kitimat, BC

They’ve drafted an arrangement to assert Wet’suwet’en rights and title throughout the nation’s traditional territory. The document now needs to be reviewed and ratified by the Wet’suwet’en clans.

“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,” the statement said.

“This is a momentous moment,” added Debbie Pierre, executive director of the Office of the Wet’suwet’en.

No decision has been reached regarding the future of the Coastal GasLink pipeline.

Although they explored ways to resolve the conflict, they left the table recognizing that “differences relating to the CGL project remain.”

The province has agreed to provide the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs with more information about the project.