Wet'suwet'en Chiefs Continue To Oppose Gas Pipeline
The Wet'suwet'en Hereditary Chiefs say they remain steadfastly opposed to TransCanada's Coastal GasLink Pipeline project being built on their territories.
The pipeline -- and the LNG Canada terminal project at Kitimat -- were given final approval last week by Shell Canada and its investment partners, who said they had benefits agreements with all 20 First Nations along the pipeline route.
But Chief Na'moks, also known as John Ridsdale, says the elected band councils don't speak for the Hereditary Chiefs.
"We are the voice of the land, we have authority on the land -- I believe the propaganda they put out there are elected bands, and they only have jurisdiction within the reserves itself, much like a municipality, whereas we speak for our people and the 22-thousand square kilometres of our unceded, undefeated non-treaty lands," he said.
He also says this week's pipeline explosion near Prince George shows just how dangerous natural gas pipelines can be.
"We've been adamantly opposed to pipelines on our territories since 2006, and you look at that explosion around Prince George -- that was massive! Do we want that on our territories? We believe the risks are too great to our land, water, salmon, people, our very freedom," he said.
Ridsdale raised the issue at the United Nations in New York two years ago, and also at a more recent conference on Aboriginal Rights in Geneva.