Wet’suwet’en chiefs come to ‘temporary’ agreement with natural gas pipeline workers

A sign from a protest in Yellowknife earlier this week supporting the Wet'suwet'en Nation. (Photo: Francis Tessier-Burns).

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have agreed with the RCMP to let Coastal GasLink workers pass the Unist’ot’en camp temporarily.

Last night, members of the camp explained the decision on their website in a post titled, “This is not over”.

It reads, “While the chiefs have a responsibility to protect the land, they also have a duty to protect our land defenders. Our people faced an incredible risk of injury or death and that is not a risk we are willing to take for an interim injunction.”

Protesters set up a blockade preventing the construction of a liquid natural gas pipeline that would go through Wet’suwet’en territory near Houston, British Columbia.

The decision came after 14 people were arrested at the Gidum’ten access point on Monday after they were accused of violating a court injunction.

Since then, they have all been released.

Dene Nation National Chief Norman Yakeleya released a statement today questioning the BC government’s willingness to engage in reconciliation.

“Where is the meaningful and productive dialogue that the BC government speaks about,” read the statement.

The injunction enforced by the RCMP that led to the arrests was handed down by a BC court.

The statement adds, “The Dene Nation supports the right of the Wet’suwet’en Nation to govern themselves and to organize themselves so that their people reach consensus within their own territory.”

Reports say workers will be allowed past the camp by 2 p.m. Pacific Time today.

The website post did not say how long the agreement would be in place.

About the Author

Francis Tessier-Burns
Francis is a reporter with CKLB. Previously, he worked at The Review newspaper in Vankleek Hill, ON. He tackles anything in his work; his interest focus on the environment, Indigenous communities and politics. His first experience in the North was in 2016 as an intern with Up Here magazine. He and his partner fell in love with Yellowknife and are very happy to be back. Now they're looking to explore and experience anything the North has to offer.

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