About 45 people gathered in front of MLA Michelle Mungall’s office Monday in support of the Wet’suwet’en standoff with Coastal GasLink in Northwestern B.C. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Nelson residents gather in support of Wet’suwet’en chiefs

45 people stood in front of MLA Michelle Mungall’s office Monday

On Monday about 45 people gathered in front of MLA Michelle Mungall’s Nelson office to support the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs in their blockade against the Coastal GasLink pipeline and the RCMP.

This week, on a forest road near Smithers, B.C., the RCMP enforced a court injunction by arresting and removing inhabitants of a blockade that had prevented Coastal GasLink from building a portion of its pipeline across central B.C.

The lead-up to the arrests led to demonstrations across the country by Wet’suwet’en supporters who blocked transportation routes including the Port of Vancouver.

One of the contentious issues is who is entitled to give consent to the company: the traditional hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en (who oppose the pipeline and blockaded the route) or the modern system of elected band councils (many of whom support it but whose jurisdictions don’t extend beyond the limited boundaries of their reserves).

Mungall’s office is open this week by appointment only, so there was no interaction with her or her staff.

Three people at the Nelson demonstration told the Star why they were there.

Candace Batycki:

“To be honest, I am angry and upset. And I am also really uplifted by the grace of the matriarchs in their holding the line today (at the Unistoten camp) and upset at the Canadian public in what seems like wilful ignorance about the situation. It’s like the Truth and Reconciliation Commission never wrote a report and there was never an inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women.

“People are saying, well all these band councils signed agreements for the pipeline. Well, so what? Unistoten did not sign it and it is their territory. Elected band councils, my hats off to them, they have a hard job to do, but they are empowered by the Indian Act and govern mostly what happens on reserves but they do not replace the hereditary system. We have so much to learn. It makes me sad.”

Nina Sylvester:

“I’m here because the forcible removal with the full tactical teams of the RCMP at Unistoten camp is both against Wet’suwet’en law and against Canadian law itself, and I am ashamed that it is my government that is doing this. It it not lawful and not just.

“What is happening up there is a continuation of the history of colonialism and violence against Indigenous people of Canada, and it is obvious that it is happening today. It is blatant. This is an opportunity to show support on the right side of history.”

Sandra Hartline:

“I am here for solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en, and I am outraged at what is happening with them. It is heartwarming to see the support in Seattle and San Francisco and everywhere. But it is heartbreaking.

“The government of B.C. has supported the United Nations Declaration on the Rights if Indigenous People but they don’t understand that no means no when it comes to prior informed consent.”

Indigenous peoplesPipeline

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

 

Just Posted

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

Nelson and COVID-19: everything you need to know

Check this page for every local story related to the outbreak

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

Convoy of essential service vehicles visits Nelson hospital and care homes

The event was meant as a thank you to front-line workers

‘Better days will return’: Queen Elizabeth delivers message amid COVID-19 pandemic

The Queen said crisis reminds her of her first address during World War II in 1940

Bars, cannabis sector eligible for $40B credit program from government bank

Applicants must go through their own banks to access the program

Immunocompromised community call for more options to get groceries during COVID-19

One woman has decided to build a greenhouse to ensure she is able to access food throughout pandemic

Emergency aid portal opens Monday, cash could be in bank accounts by end of week: Trudeau

Emergency benefit will provide $2,000 a month for those who have lost their income due to COVID-19

COVID-19: Hospitals remain safe for childbirth, say Vancouver Island care providers

North Island Hospital has been asked to share its perinatal COVID-19 response plan

Canadian cadets to mark 103rd anniversary of Vimy Ridge April 9 virtually

Idea of Captain Billie Sheridan in Williams Lake, B.C. who wondered what to do in times of COVID-19

B.C. VIEWS: Pandemic shows need for adequate care home staffing

Seniors in B.C. care homes face challenging times

Most Read