Wet’suwet’en women are being denied the right to exercise the roles they were sworn into for purely sexist reasons. If the male Wet’suwet’en are the only ones allowed to negotiate on behalf of their people, then their mistake was to allow Wet’suwet’en women to become hereditary chiefs.
The very term “hereditary chief” implies the duty to control the land vested to them though inheritance.
Sometimes in our lives we come across an injustice that we cannot ignore, and we must heed the call to find a just solution. When you have a power that cannot be challenged on account of a total lack of democracy is a problem we simply cannot ignore any longer.
The problem is the same in every communist nation or dictatorship, when their power takes precedence to the rights of its citizens to the point the citizens are suffering at the hands of a few, it time for change.
It’s not a secret anymore, at least not with those most affected, in this case the Wet’suwet’en nation as a whole. Even the definition of who the Wet’suwet’en Nation is has become a topic of debate due to serious divisions. Our definition here is every aboriginal who is a Wet’suwet’en by birth, regardless of where they were born.
Going back to the defining legal court case, not by all the Wet’suwet’en, but rather by a Wet’suwet’en partnership the Gitxsan, we had the Delgamuukw land claims.
“The appellants, all Gitksan or Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, both individually and on behalf of their “Houses”, claimed separate portions of 58,000 square kilometres in British Columbia. For the purpose of the claim, this area was divided into 133 individual territories, claimed by the 71 Houses. This represents all of the Wet’suwet’en people, and all but 12 of the Gitksan Houses.”
“Their claim was originally for “ownership” of the territory and “jurisdiction” over it.”
Let us begin by saying the claim for ownership and jurisdiction was NOT granted, but rather still awaits either a negotiated settlement or a new claim in the courts.
Now simple math, each house has one primary Hereditary Chief for a total of 13 Hereditary Chiefs. Of that 13, three are vacant positions since 2015, it begs the question of intent vs expediency. Of the remaining 10 two were stripped of their title (highest level chiefs) leaving 8 remaining.
But there are only seven remaining directors, and note even though both Gloria George and Darlene Glaim were of equal rank, they never appeared as directors of the Office of Wet’suwet’en even going back to the days when there was 100% unity among the chiefs.
So the first conclusion we can rightfully make is women are inferior chiefs with no say in matters such as the issues that appear to be the exclusive domain of men in the Office of Wet’suwet’en.
This brings me to the first important point or question. Where in Wet’suwet’en law does it say that women will not be allowed to conduct themselves in matters like land ownership or land usage, be it borrow, rent, loan, lease or ownership? Or is this simply a sexist rule tooled neatly into a men’s only club?
Consider the known fact is the role of Hereditary chief is let me quote from the Office of Wet’suwet’en’s own rule book for Hereditary chiefs.
“Laws of the Land Trespassing – Trespassing was permitted to certain individuals. People married into or directly related to a clans were permitted to travel into their territories. There were common trails that meandered through some territories. Everyone was permitted to use these trails but ere only allowed to snare or hunt small game (rabbit & grouse) on the common trail. If you wandered off the common trail, or decided to snare or hunt larger game, it was then considered trespassing. Trespassers were given one warning if they were caught off of common trails or hunting in another clans’ territory. The warning came in the form of an eagle feather. If the person was caught trespassing again, it was punishable by death.”
That said why are women being denied the right to call out the roles they were sworn to uphold as hereditary chiefs?
Next how did someone who did not follow the Office of Wet’suwet’en’s own rule book, in regards to “The Feast and the Functions of the System Today”
“A funeral feast takes place every time a Wet’suwet’en dies to mark this passing on and to repay the people who have helped bury the dead. If the deceased held a chiefly title the successor is commonly announced at the funeral feast. Approximately a year later the deceased’s clan holds a headstone feast to erect a memorial to the deceased at the gravesite. If the deceased has a title, the title is officially conferred on the successor at the head stone feast”
As much as it might not fit the agenda of the “Wet’suwet’en Five” Gloria George – Goo-htse Awh Smogelgem or Chief Smogelgem if very much alive and well, while Warner Naziel has been masquerading as Chief Smogelgem for close to 19 years already and it appears clearly with the approval of the Office of Wet’suwet’en.
Clearly the Office of Wet’suwet’en has known the for 19 years you have had 2 Chief Smogelgem’s until you have an excuse to relive one of them of their blanket, or administrative role in the Wet’suwet’en Nation.
According to an article posted in the Globe and Mail today it appears the both the Office of the Wet’suwet’en and Warner Naziel are collaborating on the theft of aboriginal title.
“But Ms. George said in a recent interview with The Globe and Mail that she acted appropriately when she patiently waited several years before inheriting Smogelgem, after her brother Leonard died in 2007. “The title was my brother’s and before my brother, it was my mom’s cousin, and before that, it was my mom’s great uncle,” Ms. George said.
She pointed out that Mr. Naziel’s roots are in Owl House, but the Smogelgem title is under Sun House.
Leonard George, in his hereditary role as Smogelgem, was one of the plaintiffs in the historic court case known as Delgamuukw, in which Gitxsan and Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs claimed ownership of their unceded territories in British Columbia. In the landmark 1997 decision, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that Indigenous people have valid claims to ancestral lands that were never ceded by treaty.”
Clearly Warner Naziel with the help of the “Wet’suwet’en Five” are trying to rob the George family of control of their territory.
Most important is this admission
“Mr. Naziel’s uncle, Alphonse Gagnon, filed an affidavit last week to vouch for his nephew. Mr. Gagnon said that in 1998, he took over the hereditary title Kloum Khun under Owl House of the Laksamshu clan. “I suggested to the clan, as was my right, that the name Toghestiy should pass to my nephew, Warner Naziel,” Mr. Gagnon said.
Mr. Gagnon said his nephew is an expert on hereditary governance and earned the wing chief (sub-chief) title of Toghestiy under Owl House.
“Although I am now Smogelgem, I still hold the name Toghestiy,” Mr. Naziel noted.”
Clearly Gloria George is correct and Alphonse Gagnon confirms it with the admission that Warner Naziel is from a different house, namely the Owl House.
The Final Evidence.
The Office of the Wet’suwet’en knew full well this is clearly theft of a massive tract of land owned by the Sun House, its a land grab, an illegal land and title grab, and we can prove it. In sworn and signed statements by the Office of the Wet’suwet’en in regards to the Enbridge Northern Gateway, they listed Gloria George as Chief Smogelgem .
I would sure like to see how they intend to weasel their way out of this one. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly the Office of the Wet’suwet’en are so willing to break the very laws they impose on others.
This offers proof that Gloria George is the one and only Chief Smogelgem at very least starting on or before 2011.
See page 14 of this document.54936E
Misrepresentation by the Office of the Wet’suwet’en
The office says it represents all Wet’suwet’en that are divided into 5 clans, Gil_seyhu (Big Frog), Laksilyu (Small Frog), Gitdumden (Wolf/Bear), Laksamshu (Fireweed), Tsayu (Beaver Clan)
All they need to do is have a representative from each house speak for that house, and it’s the final verdict by Wet’suwet’en law, 5 people speak on behalf of a nation without the consent or even at time without the knowledge of the nation itself.
Wet’suwet’en law is what the Office of the Wet’suwet’en declared it to be, all based on transcripts from the oral memories of Johnny David.
Next they impose that law by way of authoritarian rules on 5 villages also known as communities, without any permission of the communities to do so. They use their own self granted authority to impose a dictatorship over the 5 communities.
Hagwilget, Witset, Wet’suwet’en First Nation (Burns Lake), Skin Tyee Nation, Nee Tahi Buhn
The Office of the Wet’suwet’en, or its hereditary chiefs have, and I want to emphasize this point, have never governed three of these nations, Wet’suwet’en First Nation (Burns Lake), Skin Tyee Nation, Nee Tahi Buhn, however the Office of the Wet’suwet’en publicly pretends to speak for them.
Yes via marriage the families of all Wet’suwet’en are connected and yes they have a few fans that show up when they host a feast out of their ever ballooning deficit now sitting at well over 14 million dollars. They burned up the money needed to complete the land claims so protesting is the only thing left that they can afford to do.
Under this new law the Office of the Wet’suwet’en implemented by way of a selective group of chiefs, I say selective because they did NOT put the vote to all Wet’suwet’en chiefs from all 5 communities, but rather imposed it on all the people as well as on those hereditary chiefs who did not get to vote on the issue.
Please understand I have no objection or issue with the usage of that law but keep in mind that all of the contents of that law go uncontested and were made by one hereditary chief from Witset. Since that time and I want to use these words carefully, a selective group of hereditary chiefs, in particular the ones running the Office of the Wet’suwet’en made the decisions on how to implement the laws recalled by Johnny David.
There was never a public consensus by all 5 communities to adopt Eagle Down as their law.
With the Office of the Wet’suwet’en controlling the content of those laws, they also get to control implementation of those laws, they become judge, jury and executioner all nicely wrapped of in one package. So when the Office of the Wet’suwet’en goes to Burns Lake and declares an official meeting, the few that show up speak for the majority that do not recognize the Office of the Wet’suwet’en as an authority over them.
The problem dates back to the 50’s and 60’s even into the 70’s and later where government grants almost always went to Witset at the expense of all other communities, but then look who was elected to those back counsels back in those days and connect the dots to why so many hereditary chiefs became so independently wealthy.
Look who had heavy pockets, the latest cars and trucks and the best houses.
Hosting a feast has become a proposition affordable only to the wealthy who then move up inside the power structure.
As they say follow the money, look today who has the most expensive houses in Wiset, and note how many of them acquired their wealth while connected to the funds of the community.
Office of Wet’suwet’en
On the issue of money, there is a looming crisis that is being ignored.
Income $228,900.00 – Expenditures $240,501.00 for 2018
Existing dept $14,400,693.00 The deficit is not being paid down, its actually growing, so the question will be who will pay for this in the end?
QUESTION: How long can you run like this before you become officially bankrupt?
It’s high time for democracy to replace authoritarianism, and everything needs to be more transparent, or unity will never be achieved. The first step needs to be respecting the equality of women, inclusive of respecting their rights to differing opinion.
Having hereditary chiefs is entirely possible, if they make the system transparent, and make it 100% democratic, but it must begin by being all inclusive, every member of the Wet’suwet’en Nation having an equal say.
If the Office of the Wet’suwet’en intends to stay in the stone age, the Wet’suwet’en people will lose interest in them, more so than they already have, and move on without them.
Its time they started to listen to the educated Wet’suwet’en men and women, they are your future, they can bring prosperity to the Wet’suwet’en Nation.
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