‘We’ll never put a price tag on our land’: Wet’suwet’en say RCMP enforcement of CGL injunction imminent

Talks between the hereditary chiefs and the Province ended on Feb. 4

Hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en say they expect the enforcement of a Dec. 31, 2019 B.C. Supreme Court injunction related to their dispute with Coastal GasLink (CGL) is imminent.

Meeting with supporters and members of the media at an encampment just past the 39 kilometre mark of the Morice West Forest Service Road on Feb. 5, hereditary chief Na’Moks (John Ridsdale) said it was unfortunate that talks between the hereditary chiefs and the Province came to an end.

“There was a message sent to the government and [CGL] stated because there was no progress on the discussion that … B.C. walk away,” said Na’Moks.

He said the decision was made when it became clear the chiefs would remain steadfast in their opposition to CGL development on their unceded territory.

“It’s because we will not grant access,” he said. “They wanted access to the land and we said you’re not getting access, you’ll never get approval, not from the hereditary chiefs and not from our people.”

READ MORE: Bachrach calls on Trudeau to meet with hereditary chiefs in CGL dispute

On Feb. 5 the RCMP asked supporters to vacate the area, seemingly in anticipation of enforcing the injunction.

The RCMP have said if supporters do not leave they will be arrested but added if arrests are made there are “peaceful options that will require a minimal use of force.”

Despite these calls, there was an air of positivity at encampments located near the 27 and 39-kilometre points of the road as supporters shared laughs, stories and conversation throughout the day.

Speaking to a number of supporters sipping coffee and tea around a campfire Na’Moks said it was ironic that they were still so embroiled in an issue of rights and title with a province that his flaunted itself as the first place in Canada to enshrine the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) into law.

“The Premier of this province said that this project was pre-UNDRIP and yet they tout themselves as standing up for Indigenous rights, for human rights?” said Na’Moks.

He said while the injunction comes from a Canadian court, it does not supercede Wet’suwet’en law.

“The law that they follow with this injunction is an introduced law,” said Na’Moks. “Our law is thousands of years old, it is strong, it will remain and it will always be there.”

Na’Moks also expressed disappointment in Justin Trudeau for not agreeing to meet with the chiefs.

“When they say that they’re going to have the best relationship with Indigenous people and then they ignore the Indigenous people, that is not fair, that is not proper and it most certainly is not respectful.”

The Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have maintained their opposition to the project is rooted in a deep respect for the land they call home and a fear the CGL development could have irreversible impacts on what Na’Moks called one of the few places left in the world that is an example of pristine, untouched wilderness.

“We’ll never put a price tag on our land, our air, our water, our rights and title nor our future generations,” he said.

“There are places on this planet that should not be touched, and this is one of them.”



trevor.hewitt@interior-news.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

 

The encampment located just beyond the 39 kilometre mark of the Morice West Forest Service Road. (Trevor Hewitt photo)

Just Posted

MISSION: Cancellations and closures

Skate park closed, waste pick up rules changed

Mission’s Hope Central in need of volunteers

People are needed to help supply and serve food to those in need

Social media a blessing and a curse during time of crisis: B.C. communication expert

‘In moments of crisis, fear is very real and palpable,’ says SFU’s Peter Chow-White

Blue ribbons popping up along streets in Abbotsford in praise of B.C. healthcare workers

Healthcare worker’s family starts local trend of morale support

Abbotsford Agrifair’s 2020 event still in the works

Fair will respect COVID-19 health directives, but continuing plans in hope ban will be lifted

Canada will make sure masks sent by China meet quality standards: Trudeau

Chinese Embassy tweeted that China was sending 30,000 medical masks along with gowns, gloves and goggles

B.C. issues guidelines about distancing, reusable bags to grocery stores amid COVID-19

Hand sanitizer and markers to keep lines two metres are apart are needed, province says

No plans to call in military right now to enforce COVID-19 quarantine: Trudeau

Trudeau unveils $7.5M for Kids Help Phone, $9M for vulnerable seniors amid COVID-19

QUIZ: How much do you know about the Olympics?

Put your knowledge to the test with these 12 questions

B.C. announces $3M for food banks to increase capacity during COVID-19

It is not clear how much of the money will flow towards Greater Victoria food banks

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

B.C. Ferries passengers staying away, as asked, during COVID-19 pandemic

Ferry corporation says ridership down 70-80 per cent over the last week and a half

Most Read