Pipelines and politics: a primer on First Nations – Times Colonist

by ahnationtalk on January 11, 201958 Views

UVic expert says band councils and non-elected hereditary chiefs play distinct roles that sometimes conflict

January 11, 2019

Canadians are getting a crash course on the differences between non-elected hereditary chiefs and band councils elected by First Nations as RCMP arrests at a blockade in northern B.C. launched pipeline protests across the country this week.

“The question of who represents Indigenous people is a thorny one,” said Val Napoleon, director of the Indigenous law research unit at the University of Victoria. “Just saying this system is good and that system is not, isn’t helpful. Indigenous legal traditions have to be part of the relationship with Canada.”

Fourteen people were arrested Monday on the traditional territory of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation. Coastal GasLink wants to build a natural gas pipeline through the territory and says it has signed agreements with the elected councils of all 20 First Nations along the path, including the Wet’suwet’en.

The Wet’suwet’en conflict highlights the machinations of Indigenous political and legal systems, where both the elected council and hereditary chiefs speak for their communities, Napoleon said. The council supports the pipeline project, but a family group of hereditary chiefs has opposed the project for years.

Read More: https://www.timescolonist.com/news/b-c/pipelines-and-politics-a-primer-on-first-nations-1.23591920

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