wetsuweten explained

Talks between Wet'suwet'en and federal government have totally gone off the rails

Tensions remain high across the country as activists, allies, commuters and the public at large await some sort of resolution to the long-running standoff between Wet'suwet'en solidarity groups and the Canadian government.

Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs issued a statement yesterday saying that the federal and provincial government had "abruptly declined" to engage in talks that were expected to help defuse the situation.

"Our willingness and invitation remain open to B.C. and Canada," the short release reads. "We thank our supporters for their tireless dedication and respectfully ask for their continued support."

But, within less than 24 hours, the talks were apparently back on, with the government attributing the cancellation to "a miscommunication."

Wet'suwet'en media contact Chief Na’Moks told CTV News that prior to the arranged discussion, the levels of government had requested that the chiefs help create a "period of peace and respect" for dialogue by calling off the coast-to-coast transportation blockades that other First Nations groups and allies implemented in solidarity with Wet'suwet'en.

But, as Na'Moks said to the news outlet, "We can't tell another sovereign nation what to do," and so an agreement could not be made.

An unconfirmed meeting between the three groups is now scheduled to take place this afternoon and continue tomorrow, February 28, according to CTV.

The conversation will centre on title and land rights of the Wet'suwet'en and will take place at their office in Smithers, northern B.C.

It is a talk that has been long-awaited, to say the least, as protests and blockades occupying rail lines, ports, highways, governmental buildings and city streets have continued across Canada for three weeks, impacting the national economy and heightening social and political tensions.

After Ontario Provincial Police enforced an injuction to break up a major barricade on train tracks between Toronto and Montreal on Monday morning, things escalated even more, with additional demonstrations popping up all over the country and beyond.

The action is all in response to the RCMP's invasion onto unceded Wet'suwet'en land in northern B.C. to clear the way for TC Energy's contentious Coastal GasLink pipeline.

Though 20 elected band councils signed off on the the 670 km-long, $6.6 billion line that would cut through their territory, some Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs are still opposed, and have vowed to protect their land and sovereignty.

Additional layers — like a legacy of colonization and Indigenous genocide, the RCMP's treatment of media trying to document the events and the fact that RCMP pensions are invested into the company behind the pipeline — make the issue even more complex and delicate as it continues to grow and make international headlines.

Lead photo by

HFXWetsuwetenSolidarity


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