‘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

Column: One parenting book certainly doesn’t fit all

Like the fingerprints they are born with – each child is different.… Continue reading

Influx of tourists helping to nurse Penticton’s economy back to health

The city has seen visitors multiply tenfold in recent weeks

Two vehicle crash on Highway 97 in Penticton

The crash happened before 3:30 p.m. in front of the Lakeside Inn and Suites

Pooch abandoned at Penticton doggy daycare suffered from oral disease

A fundraiser for Okie held by the BC SPCA surpassed its goal of $1,700

Keremeos Volunteer Fire Department receives $25k grant

Money used on a truck with low volume, high pressure water pump to fight wildfires

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

COVID-19: Homeless to be relocated from temporary Okanagan shelter

Homeless shelters in Vernon have been combined into one site at the curling rink since April

Dozens of fish die at popular lake near Chase

A few natural phenomena are possible causes for their deaths.

BREAKING: Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

RCMP ‘disappointed’ by talk that race a factor in quiet Rideau Hall arrest

Corey Hurren, who is from Manitoba, is facing 22 charges

NHL’s Canadian hubs offer little economic benefit, but morale boost is valuable: experts

Games are slated to start Aug. 1 with six Canadian teams qualifying for the 24-team resumption of play

Most Read