Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chief Namoks (John Ridsdale) speaks as Indigenous nations and supporters gather to show support for the Wet’suwet’en Nation before marching together in solidarity, in Smithers, B.C., on Wednesday January 16, 2019.(THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck) Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chief Namoks (John Ridsdale) speaks as Indigenous nations and supporters gather to show support for the Wet’suwet’en Nation before marching together in solidarity, in Smithers, B.C., on Wednesday January 16, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)

Province, feds, Wet’suwet’en announce progress in MOU talks

Community engagement process launched to implement northern B.C. First Nation’s rights and title

Northern B.C. governments, industry, business and recreation groups will be receiving an invitation to assist in forming a regional engagement group as B.C. and Canada seeks to successfully implement Wet’suwet’en rights and title.

The provincial and federal government affirmed their commitment to work together under the memorandum of understanding signed earlier this year with Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs.

Although B.C. Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, Scott Fraser and federal Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, Carolyn Bennett said the coronavirus pandemic has created additional challenges, they are having important conversations which will continue to move them forward.

Read More: Complaints of checkpoint debris spark controversy

“We are engaged in important dialogue on matters of Wet’suwet’en rights and title that have remained unresolved since the Delgamuukw-Gisday-wa decision more than 20 years ago,” Fraser and Bennett said in a joint statement Aug. 13.

“This is complex and important work and it will take time.”

A jointly developed external community engagement process has been launched, with invitations sent to potential participants to join a regional engagement group, and to suggest participants for a core advisory council.

Read More: Wet’suwet’en land title disputes an ‘internal issue,’ B.C. minister says

“As our work progresses, we will also be consulting neighbouring Nations,” said Fraser and Bennett.

Both hope to reach a negotiators’ understanding by mid-October 2020 on an affirmation agreement for Wet’suwet’en rights and title that will also set the stage for further implementation negotiations.

“The draft agreement will then require approval and ratification by Wet’suwet’en clan members and the provincial and federal governments, which we will seek to conclude before the end of the year,” the ministers stated.

“During this time, internal engagement within Wet’suwet’en will continue, as will external community engagement with other interested parties on the negotiations and draft agreement.”

Read More: Lake Kathlyn school sold to Wet’suwet’en for new seat of government

Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chief Hagwilnegh (Ron Mitchell) was not available for immediate comment.

The Wet’suwet’en will be creating a seat of government for the entire Yintah (land) through the $1.2 million purchase funded by the Province of Lake Kathlyn Elementary School in Smithers. With the property transfer completed last month, the We’tsuwet’en will be working with School District 54 and Bulkley Valley Bright Beginnings Childcare to ensure a smooth transition next year.

Read More: B.C. orders Coastal GasLink to stop pipeline construction near protected wetlands


Do you have a comment about this story? email:
rebecca.dyok@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC governmentFirst Nations

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

Just Posted

Erica Henderson the supervisor of early year services and programs at South Cariboo Early Years Centre and others were giving out Halloween Family Activity Kits the week leading up to Halloween. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Halloween activity kits offered to kids at home

South Cariboo Early Years Centre is finding ways to bring activities into children’s homes.

test tube with the blood test is on the table next to the documents. Positive test for coronavirus covid-19. The concept of fighting a dangerous Chinese disease.
Interior Health records third COVID-19 death

A new community outbreak was reported at Okanagan Men’s Centre in Lake Country

Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Lorne Doerskson of the BC Liberal Party and his partner Shelley Wiese celebrate at his campaign office in downtown Williams Lake Oct. 24. Doerkson has been elected as the new MLA in Cariboo-Chilcotin. (Angie Mindus photo)
Updated: Lorne Doerkson elected in Cariboo Chilcotin in preliminary results

Outgoing MLA Donna Barnett said win is ‘exciting’ for region

Power outage at Bridge Lake.
Power outage south of Bridge Lake impacts 85 customers

The outage has been caused by a fallen tree

Burnaby RCMP responded to a dine-and-dash suspect who fell through a ceiling in March 2020. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Suspected dine-and-dasher falls through ceiling of Burnaby restaurant

A woman believed to be dashing on her restaurant bill fell through the kitchen ceiling

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Kelowna Mountie hit with 2nd lawsuit in 2 months for alleged assault

Const. Julius Prommer is accused of breaking a woman’s knee during while responding to a noise complaint

Hirdeypal Batth, 24, has been charged with sexual assault and forcible confinement in relation to an incident in August 2020. (VPD handout)
Man, 24, charged with sex assault after allegedly posing as fake Uber driver in Vancouver

Investigators believe there could be more victims outside of the Vancouver area

B.C. Premier John Horgan and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee arrive for annual Cascadia conference in Vancouver, Oct. 10, 2018. They have agreed to coordinate the permanent switch to daylight saving time. (B.C. government)
B.C. still awaiting U.S. approval to eliminate daylight saving time

Clocks going back one hour Nov. 1 in Washington too

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shakes hands with US Vice-President Joe Biden on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, December 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle
A Biden presidency could mean good news for Canadian environment policy: observers

Experts and observers say even a U.S. outside the Paris agreement may ultimately end up in the same place

People take a photo together during the opening night of Christmas Lights Across Canada, in Ottawa, on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019. The likelihood that most Canadians will enjoy a holly jolly Christmas season of gatherings, caroling and travel is unlikely, say public health experts who encourage those who revel in holiday traditions to accept more sacrifices ahead. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Ho, ho, no: Experts advise preparing for a scaled-back COVID holiday season

Many of the holiday season’s highlights have already been scrapped or are unlikely to take place

Sen. Kim Pate is shown in Toronto in an October 15, 2013, file photo. The parliamentary budget office says a proposed law that would give judges discretion on whether to apply a lesser sentence for murder could save the federal government $8.3 million per year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Colin Perkel
Judicial discretion for mandatory minimum sentences for murder would save $8.3M: PBO

The result would be fewer people in long-term custody at federal correctional institutions, experts say

Most Read