Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chief Namoks (John Ridsdale) speaks as Indigenous nations and supporters gather to show support for the Wet’suwet’en Nation before marching together in solidarity, in Smithers, B.C., on Wednesday January 16, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck) Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chief Namoks (John Ridsdale) speaks as Indigenous nations and supporters gather to show support for the Wet’suwet’en Nation before marching together in solidarity, in Smithers, B.C., on Wednesday January 16, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)

Province, feds, Wet’suwet’en announce progress in MOU talks

External community engagement process launched to help implement Wet’suwet’en rights and title

Local governments, industry, business and recreation groups will be receiving an invitation to assist in forming a regional engagement group as B.C. and Canada seeks to successfully implement Wet’suwet’en rights and title.

The provincial and federal government affirmed their commitment to work together under the memorandum of understanding signed earlier this year with Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs.

Although B.C. Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, Scott Fraser and federal Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, Carolyn Bennett said the coronavirus pandemic has created additional challenges, they are having important conversations which will continue to move them forward.

Read More: Complaints of checkpoint debris spark controversy

“We are engaged in important dialogue on matters of Wet’suwet’en rights and title that have remained unresolved since the Delgamuukw-Gisday-wa decision more than 20 years ago,” Fraser and Bennett said in a joint statement Aug. 13.

“This is complex and important work and it will take time.”

A jointly developed external community engagement process has been launched, with invitations sent to potential participants to join a regional engagement group, and to suggest participants for a core advisory council.

Read More: Wet’suwet’en land title disputes an ‘internal issue,’ B.C. minister says

“As our work progresses, we will also be consulting neighbouring Nations,” said Fraser and Bennett.

Both hope to reach a negotiators’ understanding by mid-October 2020 on an affirmation agreement for Wet’suwet’en rights and title that will also set the stage for further implementation negotiations.

“The draft agreement will then require approval and ratification by Wet’suwet’en clan members and the provincial and federal governments, which we will seek to conclude before the end of the year,” the ministers stated.

“During this time, internal engagement within Wet’suwet’en will continue, as will external community engagement with other interested parties on the negotiations and draft agreement.”

Read More: Lake Kathlyn school sold to Wet’suwet’en for new seat of government

Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chief Hagwilnegh (Ron Mitchell) was not available for immediate comment.

The Wet’suwet’en will be creating a seat of government for the entire Yintah (land) through the $1.2 million purchase funded by the Province of Lake Kathlyn Elementary School in Smithers. With the property transfer completed last month, the Wet’suwet’en will be working with School District 54 and Bulkley Valley Bright Beginnings Childcare to ensure a smooth transition next year.

Read More: B.C. orders Coastal GasLink to stop pipeline construction near protected wetlands


Do you have a comment about this story? email:
rebecca.dyok@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC governmentfederal governmentFirst Nations

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

Just Posted

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

COVID-19 cases grow to 13 at B.C. First Nation near Fort St. James

“This is very serious,” says Nak’azdli Whut’en Chief

Cullen confirmed as B.C. NDP candidate for Stikine despite party’s equity policy

Former Tahltan Central Government President Annita McPhee said the process made her feel “abused”

Freeport — the camp site that was the region’s largest community

A story of the construction of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway

Burns Lake to get a pedestrian-activated light

The blind turn at the RBC crossing to get safer

QUIZ: Do you know what’s on TV?

Fall is normally the time when new television shows are released

B.C. marriage annulled because husband was unable to have sex with wife

Husband did not disclose any sexual health concerns to his wife prior to marriage

White Rock’s namesake spray-painted with Black Lives Matter slogan

Vandalism occurred sometime between Friday and Saturday

B.C. VOTES 2020: B.C. Liberals vow to eliminate sales tax for a year

From 7% to zero, then back in at 3% to stimulate economy

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

The holiday everyone needs this year: Vote for your favourite in Fat Bear Week 2020

Voters will get to decide who gets to take home this year’s most coveted prize

Canadian ski resorts wrestle with pandemic-vs.-profit dilemma as COVID-19 persists

Few are actually restricting the total number of skiers they allow on the hill

Victoria-area RCMP locate high-risk sex offender thanks to help of taxi cab driver

Scott Jones wanted on a Canada-wide warrant, ‘a risk to women and girls,’ police say

Most Read