Wet'suwet'en chiefs distance First Nation from Unist'ot'en camp, urge cooperation with pipeline companies

Monday, August 31, 2015
Travis Lupick
The Georgia Straight

The Wet'suwet'en First Nation saw a massive groundswell of support from across British Columbia following rumours that the RCMP was preparing to move on a camp that stands in the way of proposed gas and oil pipelines.

But not everybody within the Wet'suwet'en Nation is happy about that, including four elected chiefs.

Today (August 31), Wet'suwet'en chief Karen Ogen, Nee Tahi Buhn chief Ray Morris, Burns Lake Band chief Dan George, and Skin Tyee Nation chief Rene Skin issued a media release that distances the First Nation as a whole from the camp’s actions. Going further, it denounces the camp’s goal of blocking pipeline developments.

"We have long believed it is short sighted to turn down projects such as the Coastal GasLink project before understanding the true risks and benefits; that is just an easy way to avoid dealing with complex issues," said Ogen, who is described as a spokesperson for the First Nations LNG Alliance, a group that supports LNG development.

George is quoted making a similar statement: "Our Nations support responsible resource development as a way to bring First Nations out of poverty and bring opportunities for our young people,” he said.

The four chiefs who put their names behind the August 31 release are council chiefs who were elected to their positions. They have long stood in opposition to the Unist'ot'en camp, which is supported by Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs.

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