Wet'suwet'en Hereditary Chiefs at press conference on Tuesday (supplied by: Lindsay Newman)
The Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs provided an update on the eviction notice that was issued to pipeline company Coastal GasLink at a news conference in Smithers today (Tuesday).
Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs are demanding the province to cease construction and to suspend all of its permits.
According to Chief Namoks, there will be no access to Gidimt’en or Darkhouse territories without free, prior, and informed consent from the Hereditary Chiefs.
“As far as we know Coastal GasLink intends to commit trespass on Wet’suwet’en Lands and continue construction,” he said.
CGL said in a news release before the conference it has informed the Unist’ot’en that crews will need to periodically visit the sites for safety and environmental reasons while the site remains unoccupied.
Today also marks the one year anniversary of the raid where RCMP made arrests to enforce a Coastal GasLink injunction that a judge granted in December 2018.
“The province has proclaimed they will implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which includes free, prior and informed consent, but has failed to intervene with this issue,” Namoks said.
According to CGL, the company has written to Chief Namoks to set up a meeting to discuss issues of importance.
“We believe that dialogue is preferable to confrontation and will delay re-mobilization near Workforce Accommodation site 9A while engagement and a negotiated resolution remain possible,” said the release.
Namoks said the Hereditary Chiefs will only meet with decision-makers about the issue.
“We are the decision-makers on this land, we will only meet with the decision-makers. Coastal GasLink is merely a proponent and they are uninvited to this territory but we are willing to meet with the government of British Columbia, Canada as well as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police but, only the decision-makers,” he said.
Last Sunday, CGL crews located trees that have been felled at the Morice River Forest Service Road at Kilometer 39 making the road impassable.
According to the company, this is a violation of an Interlocutory Injunction that was granted by a judge on Dec 31.
Namoks said the logs that were put across Kilometer 39 was for safety.
“We must look at the history of the RCMP one year ago and what they did to our people and the guests in our territory. We have insecure thoughts on what they may do. They are not being clear to us on what their plans are, we are very clear and very open on what we do, we need to know what their plans are,” Namoks said.
According to Namoks, there has been no response to the issue from the provincial and federal governments as well as the RCMP.