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Hereditary Chiefs Agreement

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“If they get this title and these rights over our country, which is part of my territory – not all – it will have a huge impact on the members of my group.” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday brushed aside calls for Bennett`s resignation and instead thanked her for the work she put into developing the draft agreement. A virtual meeting on May 7 between hereditary chiefs and elected leaders, which the latter criticized as insufficient, came with the hereditary chiefs` promise that a negotiator would then be available to answer further questions. The chiefs say the offer was never accepted. “It seems a bit risky to have completely bypassed band councils without their consent, at least without their consent,” said Robert Janes, a chief executive of JFK Law in Victoria, which focuses on Aboriginal and constitutional litigation. Wet`suwet`en Erbhäuptling invited B.C.`s Minister of Indigenous Relations, Scott Fraser, and Carolyn Bennett, federal Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, to sign the memorandum. A meeting between elected and hereditary chiefs is scheduled for Thursday. “We are interested in reconciliation agreements,” Luggi said. “We are interested in the negotiations on Aboriginal rights and title, and the way they are going on is unacceptable and the government needs to understand that they have a lot to do with the Wet`suwet`en people.” Coastal GasLink has obtained government approval for the construction of the pipeline, but hereditary Wet`suwet`en house chiefs say the company does not have the power to build the pipeline without their consent across their territory. “We will all bcRs in a vote of no confidence in the Office of the Wet`suwet`en Erbhäuptling in Smithers,” George said. George also says hereditary chiefs tried to push for a vote at a clan meeting on the mou that took place in early March, adding that he prevented it since the meeting was held at his reserve`s gym. The deal follows a dispute between hereditary and elected officials over the Coastal GasLink pipeline, which sparked weeks of solidarity protests and rail shutdowns that crippled parts of Canada`s rail system and undermined the economy. Neither Bennett nor Fraser`s ministries were available Tuesday to comment on the draft agreement or the elected leaders` reproaches.

One of the corners that tore apart elected and hereditary chiefs was the Coastal GasLink pipeline. All elected group councils support the project; Several hereditary chiefs oppose it and have supported blockades. A draft Memorandum of Understanding [MOU] between the Wet`suwet`en Erbhäuptlingen, British Columbia and the federal government sets out a roadmap for the transfer of jurisdiction over their territory to their traditional governance – giving hereditary chiefs considerable influence over any future resource development – according to a copy of the document obtained by CBC News. So why would some wet`suwet`en members – including elected chiefs and members of one of the nation`s five clans – oppose a pioneering agreement that would recognize Wet`suwet`en rights and titles? The mou is an example of the different forms that can take this type of agreement and will not necessarily lock up any other indigenous nation as part of the Wet`suwet`en, she added. “It`s like signing a car purchase agreement and negotiating the price later,” said Chief Dan George of Ts`il Kaz Koh First Nation, also known as the Burns Lake Band, which is one of five Wet`suwet`en First Nations that have signed contracts with Coastal GasLink. “It is clear that you are not aiming for an extension to understand the declaration of intent, but to undermine the progress made so far by the Wet`suwet`en in this very first initiative with Canada and British Columbia,” the hereditary chiefs said in their letter. . . .

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