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

Just Posted

Easter bunny to send ambassador to Golden for weekend drive-by

The Easter bunny will be sending his emissary, Egglebert Bunny, to celebrate Easter with Golden

Frustrated MLA begs out of province visitors to stay home

Columbia River Revelstoke MLA Doug Clovechok doesn’t understand why people aren’t listening to good advice

Golden Facebook group attracts 400 volunteers looking to help during COVID-19

The group, which was created on March 15, has already amassed over 400 volunteers

Golden Rockets’ Turner commits to University of Victoria

The 20 year old had 16 goals in 31 regular season games this season

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

COVID-19: Trudeau says 30K ventilators on the way; 3.6M Canadians claim benefits

Canada has seen more than 17,000 cases and at least 345 deaths due to COVID-19

As Canadians return home amid pandemic, border crossings dip to just 5% of usual traffic

Non-commercial land crossing dipped by 95%, air travel dropped by 96 per cent, according to the CBSA

Logan Boulet Effect: Green Shirt Day calls on Canadians to become organ donors

While social distancing, the day also honours the 16 lives lost in the 2018 Humboldt Broncos Crash

COMMENTARY: Knowing where COVID-19 cases are does not protect you

Dr. Bonnie Henry explains why B.C. withholds community names

B.C. wide burning restrictions come into effect April 16

‘Larger open burns pose an unnecessary risk and could detract from wildfire detection’

B.C. secures motel, hotel rooms for COVID-19 shelter space

Community centres, rooms reserved for pandemic self-isolation

Look at hospitalizations, not recovery stats for COVID-19, B.C. professor says

Cases in hospital are a definitive count of people who have the novel coronavirus

B.C. First Nations want to launch fight of Trans Mountain pipeline approval

Last month, the Supreme Court of Canada decided not to hear five challenges about the pipeline

Most Read