Wet’suwet’en Chief Na’Moks calls for RCMP to leave the Yintah before talks with Canadian and British Columbia governments

Published by Brent Patterson on

Photo: Hereditary Chief Na’Moks addresses the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York, April 22, 2019.

On March 14, Postmedia reported that British Columbia’s Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, Murray Rankin, and the federal Minister of Crown-Indigenous relations, Marc Miller, have requested to meet with Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs and elected band chiefs.

That news article further reports:

The meeting, proposed to take place in Prince George in late February 2022, would have occurred with no specific agenda on the federal or provincial governments’ part.

In a joint Feb. 15 letter by Rankin and Miller sent directly to elected chiefs — who have control over reserve land covering small pockets of the 20,000 sq. kilometre Wet’suwet’en Yintah — they suggested the meeting take place in Prince George over three days.

In an interview with The Post, Rankin said the majority of elected leaders — all of whom have signed off on the Coastal Gaslink pipeline running through Wet’suwet’en Yintah — agreed to the late-February meeting.

Chief Na’Moks (John Ridsdale), one of 13 hereditary chiefs, said hereditary leaders were preparing to meet with the Crown and province before RCMP officers arrested 29 people on two separate occasions in mid-November.

“That was the end of it. Like, how can you have any kind of a discussion when our people are staring down the barrel of a gun?”

Ridsdale said the primary condition under which hereditary chiefs would accept a meeting is that RCMP  leave the Yintah.

Ridsdale also said it’d be preferable to not have elected band council at the table because, as a governance system created by the Canadian government, they represent an “entity of Canada.”

The elected council system was created by the Canadian government under the Indian Act; before European contact, hereditary leaders were the sole governing body across the territory.

In his Dec. 17 letter, Rankin said he is “of the view that there is a role for Wet’suwet’en elected leaders in this meeting.

The full article can be read at Talks between Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and provincial, federal government reach standstill.

At this time, we recall that the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination passed this resolution that:

“Calls upon the State party to immediately halt the construction and suspend all permits and approvals for the construction of the Coastal Gas Link pipeline in the traditional and unceded lands and territories of the Wet’suwet’en people, until they grant their free, prior and informed consent, following the full and adequate discharge of the duty to consult.”

That resolution further:

“Urges the State party to guarantee that no force will be used against Secwepemc and Wet’suwet’en peoples and that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and associated security and policing services will be withdrawn from their traditional lands.”

Canada was required to submit a report to the UN Committee by November 15, 2021, on its compliance with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, including a fulsome response to this resolution.

Instead, on the eve of the third militarized raid on Wet’suwet’en territory on November 18-19, 2021, Canada sent an email to the Committee stating: “Canada is currently aiming to submit its combined reports to the United Nations in 2022.”

PBI-Canada was present on Wet’suwet’en territory in November 2021 and continues to closely follow this situation.

Categories: News Updates

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