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

Community engagement process launched to implement northern B.C. First Nation’s rights and title

Northern B.C. 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 We’tsuwet’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 governmentFirst Nations

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

Just Posted

Barriere water users asked to take a look at what they are doing

“Millions and millions of gallons of water for green grass is unreasonable,” says Utilities Manager

Ten year master plan to be key for District of Barriere’s water system

District Council is focusing on not just the quantity of water, but the quality of water as well

District of Barriere Utilities Manager reports to council on Barriere wells

District of Barriere Utilities Manager Ian Crosson presented a verbal report during… Continue reading

City councillor acclaimed as BC NDP candidate for Kamloops-North Thompson

The announcement was made Monday morning in Kamloops’ North Shore

Two new COVID-19 cases announced in Interior Health region

The total number of cases in the region is at 533

B.C. counts 125 new COVID-19 cases, up to 1,284 active

No new deaths or health care facility outbreaks

‘It’s a nightmare’: Northern B.C. family desperate after living in hotel for a year

Renae Podgorney says because of a lack of rentals, she’s now applying to rent a one-bedroom unit

Costs climb to more than $100K for BC SPCA to care for animals in B.C. farm seizure

Eight puppies, of the 97 animals seized have now died from parvovirus enteritis

B.C. VOTES 2020: Wilkinson to stop 24-hour camping in city parks

Ban on ‘unsafe roadside panhandling’ to be enforced

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Lessons from a pandemic: How to design a nursing home that’s safe and love-filled

A look at how one care home is battling the pandemic with the social needs of the elderly in their care

Winter tires, chains now mandatory along most B.C. highways

Drivers without the proper winter tires – which must also be in good condition – can be fined $109

Health Canada green-lights rapid COVID-19 test

Health Canada approved the BCube test from Hyris Ltd. in the United Kingdom Sept. 23

First Nations Health Authority chief medical officer concerned with rising COVID-19 cases

“There’s still so much we don’t know and we’re learning everyday about this particular virus.”

Most Read