A standoff in B.C. has escalated to railway blockades, protests and debate across the country about First Nations land rights and who has authority over natural resources. Here’s what you need to know
- Coastal GasLink says its construction crews will be back to work on Monday after pausing for talks between Wet’suwet’en, federal and B.C. leaders, who reached a proposed deal on Sunday to recognize the hereditary governance system at the heart of February’s fractious pipeline dispute.
- Little is known about the deal, which still requires approval from Wet’suwet’en Nation members. It addresses the future status of 22,000 square kilometres of northern B.C. land that is unceded Wet’suwet’en territory, and hailed as a milestone for Indigenous rights and title, picking up where 1997′s Delgamuukw Supreme Court decision left off.
- Opinions among Wet’suwet’en people vary widely about the risks and benefits of the Coastal GasLink pipeline, which most hereditary chiefs oppose. While this past weekend’s talks were still going on, The Globe and Mail travelled along the pipeline route to see how that debate is playing out.
- Rail and highway blockades in Ontario, Quebec and B.C. have supported the Wet’suwet’en anti-pipeline chiefs, fuelling an old conflict between the hereditary system and the elected leadership authorized by the Indian Act. Here’s a more detailed primer on how the Wet’suwet’en system works.
Globe and Mail – Published Jan 14, 2020 – updated March 2, 2020.