Wet’suwet’en Chief condemns blockade at Morice River

Says protesters from Gidimt’en clan don’t represent the views of the Wet’suwet’en people

A group of supporters pictured at the encampment located just before the RCMP access control checkpoint at kilometre 27 of the Morice West Forest Service Road from Feb. 5, 2020. Now, over 21 months later, protests have gotten out of control with illegal blockades in the area. (File photo/Houston Today)

A group of supporters pictured at the encampment located just before the RCMP access control checkpoint at kilometre 27 of the Morice West Forest Service Road from Feb. 5, 2020. Now, over 21 months later, protests have gotten out of control with illegal blockades in the area. (File photo/Houston Today)

The elected Chief and Council of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation released a statement on Nov. 14 calling for an immediate end to the escalating conflict at the Coastal GasLink (CGL) natural gas pipeline crossing of the Morice River.

Three new illegal blockades on the Morice River public forest service road are blocking all exits and access to the two lodges housing more then 500 CGL workers.

“We want to make it absolutely clear that the actions of a few members of the Gidimt’en Clan who claimed to evict CGL and the RCMP from the headwaters of the Morice River do not represent the collective views of the Clan or of most Wet’suwet’en people,” said Chief Maureen Luggi in the statement.

“Even though we are also members of the Gidimt’en Clan, the protesters at the Coyote Camp and other protest sites have never consulted us about their actions and cannot claim to represent us or any other members of the First Nation. Nor can they claim to be practicing traditional protocols.”

Luggi went on to say that Wet’suwet’en communities are in deep mourning following the pandemic loss of several highly respected elders in recent weeks and it is deeply disrespectful to be carrying on public protests at this time. “These are sensitive cultural matters, and we raise them only to respectfully encourage all the protesters to show the customary levels of respect,” she said.

It was also pointed out in the statement that there are Wet’suwet’en people working on the natural gas pipeline who are now trapped behind the blockade, and that they fear for the trapped worker’s safety and well-being now that their lines of supply and communication are being disrupted.

Furthermore, Luggi says that given the current state of the province due to floods, the time for protesting could not be worse. “B.C. is undergoing a serious flooding emergency, which is affecting our members in other communities as well as our local supplies and services. This is not the time to be wasting energy and attention on unnecessary conflict in our territories.”

According to the statement, the elected representatives of the Wet’suwet’en people have given their support to the pipeline project and expect to realize benefits for our people.

“It is certain that this latest blockade will be removed one way or another. We respectfully encourage these outlying members of the Gidimt’en clan and their supporters to step down peacefully and immediately,” said Luggi.