“No Band Councils or Tribal Councils have jurisdiction over Unist’ot’en territory”

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by BRETT RHYNO

Since 2010, the Unist’ot’en have occupied and defended their traditional territory from pipeline development in defiance of industry, the province of British Columbia, and the government of Canada. Recently they exposed secretive talks between the Moricetown Band Council and the Pacific Trails Pipeline (PTP).

Brett Rhyno, Media Coop

Freda Huson, Unist’ot’en Camp

BR Would a deal between Moricetown Band Council and PTP have any jurisdiction over Unist’ot’en traditional territory?

FH No Band Councils or Tribal Councils have jurisdiction over Unist’ot’en territory. We’re a heriditary system which has five clans and each of those clans are broken into house groups. The only one that doesn’t have house groups but just has a description of the terriory is my clan which is known to the Delgamuukw as the Gilseyhu but people better know my family as Unist’ot’en. We’re probably one of the largest families and the largest group. We have jurisdiction, have proved in in the Delgamuukw, and we’ve never given over that juridiction to the province, the federal government, band councils or tribal councils.

BR What would you like to say to any Band Council members that might be considering such a deal with PTP

FH I’ve already said it right to their face that Band Council is a system that was imposed by the federal government just so they can try to take over management of our land and resources. It’s not even a system where they have any decision making power. It’s just implementing policies and programs that are developed by Indian Affairs and white society. Basically they are just implementing whatever they decide.

One and formost they are Wet’suwet’en and one and formost they belong to a clan. They are that before they are a band councilor or a chief councilor and each and every one of them belong to a clan whether it by Tsayu, Laksilyu, Gitdumden, Laksamshu or Gilseyhu. They are that foremost and according to Wet’suwet’en law you can’t make decision on another clan’s territory. The only people that can make a decision on Unist’ot’en territory is Unist’ot’en people. Nobody from any other clan can decide for us what happens on our land… Read More.

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