The Chief Problem – the Office of the Wet’suwet’en

Warner Naziel and Freda Huson

Let me start in a very unapologetic manner, it was the Liberals under then Gordon Campbell goverment who failed to uphold the law, allowing the then small group of anarchists to illegally block the road in 2009 and in 2010 allow the construction of the first illegal log cabin to use as a means to break the law. These are not opinions, they are facts. Since then the Liberals allowed them to expand to the point of putting up enough buildings people might rightfully call it a resort for anarchists. And to this day, none of them were done with a permit, they have no permit for sewage disposal, and in the event the building collapses and kills a lot of people it will be the liability of the BC Government.

Anarchist Resort

It really bothers me that the RCMP agreed to call it a healing camp, playing right into the hands of those breaking the law.

Its so easy to fool the people living thousands of miles from ground zero, but even locals have the ability to discuss local oral history. You can fool some of the people some of the time, but not all of the local people all of the time.

The first illegal building.

Now on to the chief problem, pun intended.

Somehow the year slipped my mind (age does that) there was a meeting held at Hudson Bay Lodge. The meeting was chaired by Nathan Cullen, and spokesman for various parties were there to represent their interests on LNG. On behalf of the Office of the Wet’suwet’en, was representative David DeWit.  The meeting was very courteous and information until the point that I am sure David turned a new shade of red, when Freda Huson and entourage came it yelling and screaming that nobody in the room had a right to be discussing this issue, carrying cardboard protest signs demanding we all end the meeting.

That day I recall I was highly impressed with Nathan for not simply calling the police but instead negotiated a right for someone in that entourage to speak. Someone did, and I will leave it to others what they thought of that speech, or rather accusations, I am not even sure if that speaker was sober, but visibly many aboriginals in the room were quite embarrassed, as were David’s parents who were both present.

There were between 50 to 100 witness to this event in the room.

So it begs the question of evolution, how did the Office of the Wet’suwet’en, non-apologetically cross the floor to the side of supporting anarchy? The key lies in a change in who the chiefs were, then and now.

Considering that the un-elected chiefs that do not represent 99 percent of Canada, or 99 percent of First Nations and still can have such a profound influence on our lives, it would be fair to say they owe us a lot more transparency.

Meanwhile we will have to do the best we can with information out there, or submitted by readers who happen to have an inside scoop.

Around the time Enbridge Northern Gateway was the number one problem in the Bulkley Valley, we were all told to beware of a wolf in sheep’s clothing, that wolf was Pacific Trails Natural Gas Pipeline. We were told and likewise repeated by Hereditary Chiefs at that time, that they would first put the line in under the pretext of natural gas, then later switch it to bitumen. It resulted in almost everyone who opposed Enbridge automatically opposed all natural gas pipelines.

This also resulted in a decision by the Hereditary Chiefs at that time, that they would not allow any pipeline at all through. It was not that they opposed natural gas, they justifiably feared that once the line was in it could be switched in terms of contents. (Now we know that is not true, hindsight is 20/20)

During this time we were all very concerned about oil tankers, it was a fear that gripped the entire northwest.

Despite the unified position opposing all gas lines the Office of the Wet’suwet’en wanted nothing to do with a renegade group called the Unist’ot’en. Clearly the Hereditary Chiefs at that time were 100 percent focused on fighting Enbridge legally, and wanted nothing to do with the radical blockaders who wanted to defy the law and take the law into their own hands.

From the Interior News – An illegal blockade of a public access road used by hundreds of locals.

Well that answer comes in two parts, in particular who the Hereditary Chiefs at that time were, as well who ran the show at the Office of the Wet’suwet’en Society.

Back then in 2011, there was a different set of directors within the Office of the Wet’suwet’en Society

Directors of the Office of the Wet’suwet’en Society

The Hereditary Chiefs in 2011

Likewise there were different Hereditary Chiefs

Here is the list published for 2015 (we have not been able to locate a more recent list.)

Considering (Namoks) John Ridsdale’s declaring that they stripped 3 women of their blankets (hereditary title) it begs or screams the question of forced loyalty to the side opposed to the pipelines for LNG, in particular CGL or Pacific Trails.

Right now it looks like the boys club just booted out the competition.

Here is a list (above) of who they were back then, this is important as it explains why the office went from supporting the law and framework within the law to now openly advocating support for hard line resistance.

Bear with me as we are covering a time shift and power shift spanning 18 years.

The key to the shift was the unfortunate passing of members (elders) in the George family, who were all strongly opposed to taking illegal actions and chose the path of brilliance and excellence over violence.

Chief Smogelgem (Gloria George) worked closely with Iona Campagnolo who was the Federal Liberal MP for our riding in the 70’s, under the goverment of Pierre Trudeau. It would be beyond reason to believe she would have allowed the growth of an anarchist movement within the Office of the Wet’suwet’en. It was under  Pierre Trudeau in 1973 that foundation for the negotiation of land claims and self-government became a reality.

It is highly unlikely Gloria would have been able to negotiate with Iona Campagnolo to get the funding the Office of the Wet’suwet’en in their early years. Most of the work back then was done out of what used to be called the Indian Friendship Center, using an old house turned into offices.

In an online article Gloria George also talked about how alcoholism destroyed her family, a painful reminder to me on how I lost one of my closest friends and allies.

Chief Smogelgem (Gloria George) was not only the voice of reason, without a doubt she was the most educated member on the entire slate of Hereditary Chiefs. Gloria was probably the key to making land claims become a reality for the Wet’suwet’en people.

As of 2011, she was pursuing a Master’s degree in First Nations Studies at the University of Northern British Columbia. In 1972, George was elected the Native Council of Canada’s secretary-treasurer, a post she held until 1974, when she was elected vice-president of the organization. From 1975 to 1976, when George was president, she became the first woman to become an elected leader of a major Aboriginal political organization. In 1980, George was appointed, alongside Charles Paris and Renate Shearer, as a commissioner of the British Columbia Human Rights Commission.

I could add so many more accolades for Gloria, so it becomes even more painful to see who is taking her place as Hereditary Chief. This man who was very young in 2014 already declaring himself a Hereditary Chief taking that very name Smogelgem.

Self declared Chief in 2014 now openly admits Freda is his wife.

Note this is the first and only time we read that Warner Naziel has a wife by the name of Freda Huson. Now I do not care if they are a husband and wife team, but I do wonder why they go through so much effort to hide it. Imagine all these years, all the press time and not once referring to each other as husband and wife, what gives? What are they hiding and why?

He was front an center of everything until his mom passed away, since then he has completely dropped off the public radar, why? Considering he took an active role, even during his mothers time in hospital, why has he ducked under cover?

Now pardon my ignorance but how did the chiefs name (Smogelgem) go to Warner Naziel, one would think there are ample qualified men in the George family that have all the ability to carry out the legacy Gloria started.

Nevertheless based on what we can find is that Warner Naziel might be the next in line, but was never officially named to that position.

What we do know is Warner Naziel making the claim that 2 of the 5 clam family’s walked away from the Office of the Wet’suwet’en, in particular the Laksamshu, where he appoints himself chief. It was not even true, because Kloum Khun (Alphonse Gagnon) remained on as a member of the Office of the Wet’suwet’en, as well he declared the Unist’ot’en were no longer associated with the Office of the Wet’suwet’en even though Knedebeas (Warner William) remained on with the Office of the Wet’suwet’en.

See the article from April 2014 in the Georgia Straight, clearly someone is lying through their teeth.

So it brings us back to what changed in the Office of the Wet’suwet’en who now declare, or more specifically Namoks (John Ridsdale) vehemently declares, they are our people, they did what they did on our behalf, and we will stand by our people.

But our story does not end just yet, there is more to tell. In a community that suffers so very much from physical violence against women what follows goes near beyond the believable.

I am going to take you back to what I said earlier, (Namoks) John Ridsdale’s declaring that they stripped 3 women of their blankets (hereditary title) it begs or screams the question of forced loyalty to the side opposed to the pipelines for LNG, in particular CGL or Pacific Trails.

In an effort to curb violence against women, the BC goverment, working with indigenous women, the Provincial Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation (MARR) helped create a Wet’suwet’en Matriarchal Society. In June 2016 the men’s club would have nothing to do with it, in fact they took the following steps.

The attack on women, as if women were not fit to be organized.

below is a copy of their explanation.
June13-2016-WHC-PRESS-RELEASE

Anyone with more information or correction please feel free to contact us.



Thanks for having taken the time to visit and read our articles. I had my say, feel free to post your thoughts as well, be part of making a difference.
JLS
This entry was posted in Aboriginal Issues, Aboriginal Radicals, Bulkley Valley, Coastal GasLink, Editorial, LNG. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The Chief Problem – the Office of the Wet’suwet’en

  1. Avatar Dave Wertz says:

    Thank you for this web site. It has been frustrating reading and listening to so called reporting on this issue from our standard “news ” sources. Being a local I have been hearing disturbing stories about this illegal camp and road blockade over the years. This includes a conversation with a sister of one of the Unist’ot’en leaders who had her car tires slashed when she started offering work services to the pipeline company her brother is fighting against. She mentioned they were bringing in Mohawk “warriors” from back East to learn how to fight the RCMP when they come to break up the blockade. She mentioned the Unist’ot’en funding from American and lower mainland environmental groups who it turns out are may be partly funded from Rockerfeller oil and gas. See Vivain Krause https://thenarwhal.ca/topics/vivian-krause/
    Also a Ministry of environment employee who mentioned the illegal camp put a excavator in the Morice river to provide running water to the camp, potentially damaging prime fish habitat. He was told by his superiors to drop it and not bother checking it out.
    I am for native rights and land settlement. The local Nishga deal has been good for that nation and our area as a whole. I believe supporting this gas line agreement will allow many more indigenous people to get out of poverty and learn trades allowing for more independence. I don’t think a handful of professionally paid protesters of any race should run policy in this country.
    I support the majority of indigenous stake holders who want the 650 million to 1 billion dollars reported, to better their lives and in turn help the North as a whole in work and prosperity.

  2. JLS JLS says:

    Thank you for your insights, they are much appreciated, it is a sad comment when people must hide their support for LNG for fear of reprisals or physical violence from people that market how peaceful they are.

  3. Avatar Dave Wertz says:

    Another view of Vivian Krause from the Financial times
    https://business.financialpost.com/opinion/vivian-krause-the-cash-pipeline-opposing-canadian-oil-pipelines
    the first one was someone attacking her personally instead of her message.

  4. JLS JLS says:

    A more recent problem that has my concern is that Nathan Cullen is seen doing photo opts with the anarchists, and still supporting the LNG pipeline. Both sides are starting to ask where your allegiance is? Do you support the elected officials or do you support the un-elected chiefs? Your represent more than 88,920 residents, they have a right to know where you stand on issues as critical as this. Now it looks like you are flip flopping back and forth.

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