Hereditary chief demands respect for Wet’suwet’en rights

Hereditary chief Na’moks of the Wet’suwet’en Nation crosses Montreal demanding respect for the rights of his people on his territory in northern British Columbia, through which the Coastal GasLink pipeline under construction passes.

Posted at 5:09 p.m

Frederik Xavier Duhamel

Frederik Xavier Duhamel
The press

“The crown and industry developers must respect, acknowledge and honor Wet’suwet’en’s rights and titles across the 22,000km⁠2 our territory,” said a presentation by Chief Na’mok.

“The elected officials and the industry are not showing us that at the moment,” he criticized on Saturday during a press conference with Amnesty International at the Maison du développement Durable.

He also denounced the crackdowns by the RCMP on opponents of the construction of the gas pipeline over the past three years, leading to dozens of arrests.

Repeating concerns raised by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), Amnesty International has again called for the work to be halted and the police forces to be withdrawn from the area.


PHOTO PHILIPPE BOIVIN, THE PRESS

“The crown and industry developers must respect, acknowledge and honor Wet’suwet’en’s rights and titles across the 22,000km⁠2 our territory,” said a presentation by Chief Na’mok.

The human rights organization also reiterated its calls for major Canadian banks to stop funding the project and the fossil fuel industry.

Expectations

According to the report, five major Canadian banks, RBC, BMO, TD, CIBC and Scotia, are financing the Coastal GasLink pipeline Banking on Climate Chaos 2022created by a coalition of environmental organizations.

When asked about the actions of anti-pipeline activists who allegedly set fire to two vehicles at the home of an RBC leader earlier this week, Chief Na’moks condemned the use of force. “What they are doing to us is terrible, but we must not stoop to that level,” he said.

In a letter dated April 29, CERD is again urging Canada to suspend construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline pending approval from Wet’suwet’en. The UN Committee is also calling for an investigation into the RCMP’s methods, particularly the excessive use of force.

The pipeline was the focus of numerous protests when Coastal GasLink obtained an injunction against blockages and Wet’suwet’en chiefs told the company to evict them from their territory.

In February 2020, First Nations people and supporters blocked railroads and highways across the country in solidarity with hereditary chiefs.

Construction of the 670-kilometer pipeline began in 2019 and is expected to be completed next year.

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