Gitxsan Hereditary Chiefs evict BC NDP MLA Nathan Cullen from his Hazelton constituency office on Gitxsan territory
The Gitxsan have posted on Instagram: “Gitxsan Hereditary Chiefs evict MLA Nathan Cullen from Gitxsan Lax’yip [territory].”
Their post continues: “The NDP has failed to uphold good relations with our peoples, and due to the violence inflicted on Wet’suwet’en and Gitxsan Wilp [house group] members, the NDP is no longer welcome on our territories.”
“Someone needs to be accountable for the violent actions inflicted upon our peoples and territories by the RCMP and Coastal GasLink.”
It concludes: “We do not believe these are simply renegade police actions following the rulings of a mere Provincial Court. We know that the feds and the province are guilty of trying to exterminate our way of life.”
Cullen was a federal NDP Member of Parliament from June 2004 to October 2019.
On January 27, 2020, he was appointed by British Columbia premier John Horgan as the liaison between the province and the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs.
Horgan’s government backs the Coastal GasLink pipeline.
On February 20, 2020, after two militarized RCMP raids on Wet’suwet’en territory, Horgan stated that cancelling the pipeline is “not an option for me.”
By July 21, 2020, it was reported Cullen had been paid $87,805 in fees and $2,593 in expenses for his work liaising between the provincial government and the Wet’suwet’en.
Then on October 24, 2020, Cullen was elected a Member of the Legislative Assembly and is now the Minister of State for Lands and Resource Operations in Horgan’s cabinet.
Following the November 2021 RCMP raid on Wet’suwet’en territory, Cullen posted a series of tweets about the situation.
Cullen commented: “The recent enforcement action on the Morice Service Road in Wet’suwet’en territory was an incredibly unfortunate and traumatic event for many. This enforcement took place following an injunction sought by the company and granted by the court.”
He added: “This long running dispute has divided families & communities and made the work of reconciling provincial & Wet’suwet’en laws and title incredibly challenging.”
Responses to his tweets have highlighted that Cullen has not acknowledged that while the Wet’suwet’en band council has responsibility for the reserve, the Hereditary Chiefs are recognized as having authority over the broader territory and that they have not given their free, prior and informed consent to the pipeline being built on those lands.
Cullen’s colleague Mike Farnworth is the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. In response to the actions of Wet’suwet’en land defenders earlier this month, Farnworth commented: “The right to protest does not extend to criminal actions.”
While Farnworth has stated he does direct “police operations”, he did authorize on January 27, 2020 – the same day as Cullen’s appointment – the “internal redeployment of resources within the Provincial Police Services” on Wet’suwet’en lands in order to “maintain law and order.” Days later a militarized raid against the Wet’suwet’en began.
The eviction action at Cullen’s office in Hazelton on November 27, comes after RCMP officers were deployed in nearby New Hazelton on November 19 against a Gitxsan blockade of the railroad tracks in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en.
Cullen has not yet responded via his Twitter account to the eviction.
The Notice of Eviction from the Gitxsan Government.