Murray Rankin speaks during a meet-and-greet for Taylor Bachrach’s NDP nomination bid on April 24. (Photo Trevor Hewitt)

B.C. begins reconciliation talks with Wet’suwet’en

Hereditary Chief Na’moks addresses the United Nations in New York City

Reconciliation talks between the province and Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have begun.

At a April 23 meet-and-greet for NDP nomination candidate Taylor Bachrach in Smithers, Victoria MP and lawyer Murray Rankin confirmed the first of many planned talks were scheduled for April 25 and 26.

“Our plan … is to meet every two weeks for two days at a time,” said Rankin, adding he is excited to hear what the hereditary chiefs have to say.

“I want to talk about what they want to talk about.”

READ MORE: Crown won’t pursue charges against 14 pipeline opponents in northern B.C.

Earlier this week, hereditary chief Na’Moks (John Ridsdale), addressed the United Nations in New York City on behalf of the Wet’suwet’en, echoing Rankin’s sentiment that it’s time to act.

“Indigenous systems of governance must be recognized and respected and not trampled upon in the interest of corporate development,” he said.

“We are a government, we decide who comes on our territory, we are the hereditary chiefs. British Columbia and Canada only have assumed and presumed authority on our lands.”

Na’moks also used the opportunity to invite Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, the UN special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples to visit Wet’suwet’en territory.

Rankin said he is hopeful the provincial government will be able to provide a more detailed update on what materializes from the talks this summer.

The province selected Rankin to engage with the hereditary chiefs in part due to his strong understanding of the Supreme Court’s landmark Delgamuukw decision in 1997.

The reconciliation process officially began with a smoke feast held in Witset on March 16, which Premier John Horgan attended along with Rankin.

READ MORE: Premier in Witset for reconciliation discussions

The hereditary chiefs are strongly opposed to Coastal GasLink’s (CGL) pipeline project through what they claim as their sovereign territory.

Fourteen protesters were arrested at the Gidimt’en checkpoint in January when the RCMP enforced a court injunction allowing CGL to access a road and bridge near Houston.

They have since had all charges dropped as the B.C. prosecution service said it did not have enough evidence to pursue charges.



trevor.hewitt@interior-news.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Unist’ot’en camp founder Freda Huson speaks to the special rapporteur during the 18th Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) with Wet’suwet’en hereditary Chief Na’moks (John Ridsdale) present in ceremonial dress behind her.

Just Posted

Coastal GasLink safety meeting

Coastal GasLink (CGL) held a routine and regularly scheduled safety meeting in… Continue reading

Northern B.C. cities break temperature records amid cold snap

Quesnel dipped to -41.9 C, breaking a record from 1916

Miscommunication led to three people turned away at pipeline checkpoint: RCMP

Mounties were installing new access procedures after checkpoint was set up for Coastal GasLink site

Pipeline at centre of B.C. conflict is creating jobs for First Nations: chief

All 20 elected band councils along the Coastal GasLink pipeline route have signed benefits agreements

Coastal GasLink makes new request to meet with First Nation pipeline opponents

President writes letter following Premier John Horgan’s comments on law needing to be followed

Fashion Fridays: Look your best this year

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Oil and gas industry applauds Supreme Court’s dismissal of B.C. TMX case

The high court’s ruling Thursday removes one of the remaining obstacles for the project

Airliner crash a mistake that pleased Iran’s enemies: Supreme Leader Khamenei

Iran’s supreme leader says dowining of Flight 752 was a bitter accident in rare sermon

Sub-zero B.C. weather freezes clothing in just 45 minutes

A local photographer decided to have some fun with the frosty weather before its gone

Special prosecutor to review Cranbrook toddler drowning case

Evidence disclosure at issue in the case of a woman sentenced for criminal negligence causing death

UPDATE: Supreme Court dismisses B.C.’s appeal in Trans Mountain pipeline case

Judges decide whether B.C.’s power to protect environment can include impeding a federal project

Vancouver Island child struck, pinned under SUV while sledding

Boy suffers serious injuries, no charges laid in incident

Unprepared for chemistry test, B.C. student begs superintendent to call another snow day

The student from West Vancouver promised he would study more, but was distracted by skiing and hot chocolate

Most Read