We keep hearing eco-colonialists and aboriginal obstructionists screaming about unceded land. In the case of the Wet’suwet’en people, they made a claim or land claim to a very large section of land that includes most of the Bulkley Valley.
Why does the government not honour the ruling of the Supreme Court by simply handing over title to the Wet’suwet’en people? Note that the Supreme Court actually ruled that while they recognize oral history, they did NOT feel that ownership of the land had been established.
Example a person finds a bag with a million dollars in it, they then say that this is now theirs, other people come along and say no it does not belong to you, it belongs to me. This is what really did happen in regards to Wet’suwet’en land claims.
The court then said the best place to resolve this is at the negotiating tables where all parties making claims will come to agree on what each party will get.
See the following quote.
“In 1997, the Supreme Court of Canada issued an important decision, Delgamuukw v. British Columbia, that considered Aboriginal title to Gitxsan and Wet’suwet’en traditional territories. The Supreme Court of Canada decided that a new trial was required to determine whether Aboriginal title had been established for these lands, and to hear from other Indigenous nations which have a stake in the territory claimed. The new trial has never been held, meaning that Aboriginal title to this land, and which Indigenous nation holds it, has not been determined.”
“Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs have overlapping and/or shared territory with its First Nation neighbours: Carrier Sekani, Gitxsan, Tsimshian, and Lake Babine.”
Now consider the Office of Wet’suwet’en walked away from negotiations while at the same time all other First nations continued to negotiate has set the Wet’suwet’en negotiation backwards.
Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs
The Wet’suwet’en treaty table is in Stage 4 Agreement in Principle negotiations.
Wet’suwet’en represents four communities: Hagwilget, Moricetown, Skin Tyee, and Nee Tahi Buhn. Wet’suwet’en traditional territory is in the Bulkley River area in northwest BC. There are approximately 3,160 Wet’suwet’en members.
Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs have overlapping and/or shared territory with its First Nation neighbours: Carrier Sekani, Gitxsan, Tsimshian, and Lake Babine.
It appears the Office of Wet’suwet’en walked away from the negotiating table and chose instead to take matters into their own hands, confrontational remedies to which lies only one solution if your going to protect all parties involved. That solution is zero tolerance to those who refuse to sit down and negotiate like civilized people do.
The bad part is, that the Office of Wet’suwet’en have left their people stranded or out in a lake without a paddle so to speak.
This resulted in the need for the creation of many groups, inclusive of the Lake Babine Nation, Carrier Sekani Tribal Council, and the Wet’suwet’en Matrilineal Coalition (WMC)
The good news is the Provincial Government continued to negotiate with Wet’suwet’en elected leaders and consequently many funds trickle down into their communities on joint ventures.
Sadly it appears the Office of Wet’suwet’en have become the Achilles heal of the Wet’suwet’en people and the sooner power is completely in the hands of the Wet’suwet’en people will result in peace and harmony for themselves and all their neighbours. After all, snubbing all your neighbours and demanding the entire pie so to speak is more than just egotistical, its rude and very anti social. It is or was entirely possible to settle land claims within the last or next decade.
Two decades have now been wasted by the Office of Wet’suwet’en and instead of celebrations we could see many members end up in jail.
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