• Follow us

Economy

Does the B.C. gas pipeline need approval from hereditary chiefs? - Macleans.ca

Earlier this week, the RCMP enforced a court-ordered injunction on a group of protestors in northwestern B.C. from the Wet’suwet’en Nation, who sought to prevent pipeline workers from accessing a road near the town of Houston. The Mounties dismantled the fortified checkpoint, known as the Gidimt’en camp, and arrested 14 people, sparking protests across the country and calls on Justin Trudeau to address the escalating situation.

Announced last fall by the provincial and federal governments, the $6.2 billion pipeline built by Coastal GasLink, a subsidiary of TransCanada Corp., would move natural gas across B.C.’s north to a coastal terminal in Kitimat. The path is about a kilometre south of a second checkpoint controlled by a clan of the Wet’suwet’en, known as the Unist’ot’en, who as of this writing expected the Mounties to arrive at their encampment at any moment.

The conflict has raised questions about the relationship between elected band councils and hereditary leaders when it comes to resource and development projects. TransCanada has signed agreements with elected leaders of First Nations along the pipeline’s route, including those of the Wet’suwet’en. The Wet’suwet’en Nation, however, encompasses a vast region in northern B.C., and the hereditary leadership from all five of its clans, whose responsibilities extend beyond the borders of the reserve, say those contracts don’t apply to Wet’suwet’en traditional territory—in a province where most of the land was never ceded through treaty. It is the hereditary chiefs who are backing the ongoing protests.

Chief Robert Joseph is a hereditary chief of the Gwawaenuk First Nation on B.C.’s coast and an ambassador for Reconciliation Canada and the Indian Residential School Survivors Society, among other roles. He spoke to Maclean’s writer Kyle Edwards about the differences between traditional hereditary leadership and band councils elected under the Indian Act, and how tensions can arise between the two from things like, say, pipelines.

Q: What are the responsibilities of a hereditary leaders and elected band councils in a First Nation?

A: The situation you are finding in the Unist’ot’en in Wet’suwet’en territory is not uncommon. There are differences of opinion between elected leadership and hereditary leadership from time to time, and mostly when it comes to resource development that likely has impacts on the environment.

It’s during these times that hereditary chiefs assume their responsibility over the lands that are spoken about. In contrast, chiefs elected under the Indian Act are primarily responsible for things that happen on reserves—like infrastructure, housing, water, sewage, schools and those day-to-day matters that affect membership. Their jurisdiction doesn’t flow beyond the borders of the reserve that they’re on. That’s the situation with Unist’ot’en; they’re not on reserve—they’re on Wet’suwet’en territory in general.

Q: How does the hereditary leadership system work?

A: During pre-colonial times, tribes were governed by hereditary chiefs. And the genesis of the hereditary chief position flowed directly from all of the first ancestor stories. Through the years, this chieftainship was passed down through strict protocol, primarily in a father-to-son way, with exceptions of course. Where I come from, each tribe had four to six first ancestors, and therefore by extension, they would have four to six heads of those clans, or hereditary chiefs. Among them would be one senior chief determined by the long-standing narrative. The genesis stories actual mark or demark the territories that these clans came from.

Chief Robert Joseph (John Woods/CP)

Q: As we’ve seen from the protests in Wet’suwet’en, hereditary leaders appear to still have a lot of influence.

A: The people throughout Turtle Island (North America) have never forgotten the old ways and traditions. They have practised them through rituals, songs and dances. In their minds, in their hearts, it’s real. They’re the chiefs of those territories.

Q: These days, what is the responsibility of a hereditary chief in a community?

A: At the moment, they don’t have any authority that’s recognized. Part of the problem is that the elected chiefs in Wet’suwet’en approved of the pipeline. As a hereditary chief, our responsibility is primarily to encourage our members to hold on to their traditional belief systems and the perspectives that we have about land. We have a very strong moral persuasion in all of this that needs to be added into the discussion around development.

Q: How many hereditary chiefs are there in B.C.?

A: Many more than the elected ones. We have about 200 tribes in B.C. and each tribe has between four to six hereditary chiefs, but they’re not all active. A lot of these chieftainships were never resurrected after the colonial weight of oppression. Right now, there’s probably as many as the elected or more.

Q: So why do some First Nations have two different forms of leadership?

A: Under s.74 of the Indian Act, the Department of Indian Affairs imposed the election process on all First Nations and did away with the Indigenous hereditary system. The government is living with its own creation, and that’s the destruction of traditional forms of government and imposing the elected system.

Q: When it comes to things like pipelines, which side—elected band council or hereditary leadership—would have the final say in deciding whether it’s approved or not?

A: Essentially, unless there’s an internal agreement in a First Nation between the elected personnel and the hereditary personnel, traditional leadership has no say at all. They have no power to exercise any of their obligations. They have to work hard at trying to persuade the elected chief and council that it’s in the interest of the entire band that the two bodies work together.

Q: I imagine that creates tension.

A: It always causes friction. And sometimes the outside parties like the federal government or big corporations and other entities know this, and can use that as a tool to create the kind of divisions that fracture relationships.

Q: Do you think part of the problem in northern B.C. is this system of government that was, as you say, forced on First Nations?

A: Absolutely. It’s going to create conflict down the road. I think that the federal government, having imposed these systems, really destroyed our sense of being a self-governing people. Our people want to be self-governing, and it can be under whatever dominion or authority, but they’re allowed to have the local self-governance that’s most appropriate to them. The system of having two levels of government in the equation is challenging and complicated.

MORE ABOUT FIRST NATIONS:

Read More



Leave A Comment

More News

Economy – Macleans.ca

Does the B.C. gas pipeline need approval from 2019-01-09 17:29:50An influential hereditary leader explains the dilemma arising from Unist'ot'en protest, and what it says about Ottawa's attitude toward First Natio

Why Canada’s MBA programs are beating American competition 2019-01-07 17:23:58Applications to American MBA programs are falling. In Canada, they’re skyrocketing. What’s behind the trends? (Hint: It’s not just a

This is how Canada’s housing correction begins 2019-01-03 17:45:31Canadians are finally getting a taste of what a world with rising interest rates will look like, and one thing is painfully clear: we’re not rea

When it comes to business schools, bigger isn’t 2019-01-02 13:31:30Many aspiring MBA students are hell-bent on getting a degree from a flashy, big-name school. But it pays to consider smaller options. The perfect scho

Can Vine, Winamp, Gawker and the Razr make 2018-12-31 07:00:51They all looked very, very dead, once. But these companies will try to resurrect themselves this year. The post Can Vine, Winamp, Gawker and the Razr

Canada Goose takes flight across the globe 2018-12-26 07:00:54The Canadian parka maker plots a major expansion—starting with China The post Canada Goose takes flight across the globe appeared first on Macle

In the pay equity fight, Canada’s biggest provinces 2018-12-21 07:00:282018 was a year of closing Canada’s gender wage gap. 2019 will be a year of painful delays. The post In the pay equity fight, Canada’s big

Canada, it’s time to pay off that debt 2018-12-20 17:02:26Angela Wright: Canada's combined household debt is over $2 trillion. As the era of cheap credit comes to an end, it’s time for Canadians to fac

Brexit’s worst case scenario: food rationing and drug 2018-12-20 16:56:37As Brexit negotiations drag on, the country faces dire consequences The post Brexit’s worst case scenario: food rationing and drug shortages app

The Canadian startups that could be billion-dollar breakouts 2018-12-19 17:06:38These 10 tech firms on the rise could hit a billion-dollar valuation—but will they? The post The Canadian startups that could be billion-dollar

The Trans Mountain expansion will struggle for years—even 2018-12-17 13:43:37It isn’t dead, but Ottawa’s purchase could be resting a long time as it navigates a maze of challenges The post The Trans Mountain expansi

On Huawei, Trudeau fails to assert the Canadian 2018-12-17 13:23:36Terry Glavin: Canada has been repeatedly warned that the telecom giant poses a security threat. Yet when he talks about China, the PM is all wishy-was

: Money

Bank of Canada keeps key rate at 1.75%, 2019-01-09 10:23:54Amid a clouding economy outlook, the bank is pushing the pause button.

Bank of Canada expected to decide on interest 2019-01-09 06:43:43Governor Stephen Poloz has raised the benchmark five times since the summer of 2017 and he's instructed Canadians to prepare for an eventual era of t

Husky Energy says it may sell 500 retail 2019-01-09 00:10:37Husky Energy Inc. says it is looking at getting out of retailing fuels to consumers after 80 years in the business.

Oil-price rout doubles Canada’s trade deficit to $2.1B 2019-01-08 10:17:28Plunging crude prices were the main reason for the widening deficit, but the bad news extends beyond the energy sector.

7 hacks to save more — without the 2019-01-05 06:00:41Saving and paying down debt is hard. But there are ways to make it easier for your brain.

Analysts say Canada’s 2 major railways well-poised for 2019-01-04 17:16:53Canada's two major railways are well-positioned to weather potential economic headwinds and the U.S.-China trade war, analysts say, as ongoing invest

Stellar U.S. jobs report prompts all-caps Trump Tweet 2019-01-04 09:58:42The U.S. economy created 312,000 jobs in December, 128,000 above economists' expectations.

Unemployment still at 43-year low in December, but 2019-01-04 09:13:26Workers' pay is still growing more slowly than inflation.

Stock markets slide after Apple reveals declining iPhone 2019-01-03 15:21:46The rare warning of disappointing results from Apple reinforced investors' fears that the world's second-biggest economy is losing steam and that tr

The TFSA limit has grown to $6K — 2019-01-03 13:38:59Canadians hoping to save money after the holiday spending now have an option to stash away more cash this year -- and tax-free.

Suncor warns forced oil cutbacks in Alberta pose 2018-12-15 12:19:06Forced Alberta government crude oil production cuts next year will result in "unintended consequences'' that could include increased safety hazards

4 year-end tax tips to make the most 2018-12-15 06:50:34Cleaning up your tax act before the end of the year could yield a bigger tax refund or give one last boost to your 2018 savings.

Canada Business - The

Ontario Cannabis Lottery Has Small Business Owners Holding 2019-01-09 14:53:00Christine Cohen's inbox was flooded after she said on live TV she was applying for a highly sought-after cannabis retail licence in Ontario's lotter

Legal Marijuana In Canada Much More Expensive Than 2019-01-09 14:35:00OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says that the average price of a legal gram of recreational pot last year was $9.70, nearly 50 per cent higher than t

Canada's Economic Outlook Gets Downgrade From Bank Of 2019-01-09 12:44:00OTTAWA — The Bank of Canada left its trend-setting interest rate unchanged at 1.75 per cent Wednesday as the sharp decline in oil prices tempora

What Is Canada's Target Inflation Rate And Why 2019-01-09 11:34:00

Canadian Luxury Home Sales Took A Deep Dive 2019-01-09 10:20:00TORONTO — Sales of luxury properties declined sharply in three of Canada's biggest cities last year as homebuyers retreated amid tightened mort

Trudeau’s Government Isn’t Truly Feminist Without Universal Daycare: 2019-01-09 10:17:00OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's efforts to run a feminist government should take an extra step to create a universal daycare system, a

GM's Oshawa Plant Hit By Work Stoppage As 2019-01-09 10:04:00OSHAWA, Ont. — Unionized workers at the General Motors assembly plant in Oshawa, Ont., are holding another sit-down protest over the planned clo

Digital Privacy Concerns Arise As Bell Asks Customers 2019-01-08 11:57:00TORONTO — Canada's largest telecommunications group is getting mixed reviews for its plan to follow the lead of companies like Google and Faceb

Canadian Interest Rates: What Would It Take For 2019-01-08 11:28:00Like many other market observers, Central 1 expects the Bank of Canada will hike its influential key interest rate this year — but the credit un

'Renovictions' Set To Rise In Canada In 2019, 2019-01-08 09:47:00Amid predictions of rising rents in some of Canada's already-red-hot markets, a new report shows there could be bad things to come even for those who

Canadian Electric Car Adoption Rates Lag Behind World: 2019-01-08 09:22:00

Living Wages Are Good For Ontario's Businesses And 2019-01-07 12:52:00On New Year's Eve, Rocco Rossi, president and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC), chose to finish off 2018 with a crass attempt at humour h

CBC | Business News

Paul Godfrey steps down as Postmedia CEO as 2019-01-10 18:53:13Postmedia Network Canada Corp. announced Thursday that Paul Godfrey is stepping down as CEO and will be succeeded by president and chief operating off

Canada dusts off old message for new anti-tariff 2019-01-10 17:00:00The prime minister's inner circle is ramping up another lobbying push in Washington to terminate American tariffs on steel and aluminum.

As Bezos divorce unfurls, investors wonder — what 2019-01-10 15:42:26Amazon.com Inc. shares seesawed on Thursday as investors questioned how the impending divorce of company founder Jeff Bezos would affect his control o

Fiat Chrysler agrees to U.S. diesel-emissions settlement worth 2019-01-10 12:53:12Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV has agreed to a settlement worth about $800 million US to resolve claims from the U.S. Justice Department and state of Ca

Fed will be patient with rate hikes, Jerome 2019-01-10 12:38:26Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell says the central bank has the ability to be "patient" in determining when to hike interest rates.

Ford to shake up European business, cut jobs 2019-01-10 10:44:51Ford Motor Co. says it is cutting jobs in Europe in a wide-ranging restructuring as it focuses on its most profitable models and shifts production tow

U.S., China leave next steps for trade talks 2019-01-10 04:38:13The United States says talks in Beijing on ending a bruising trade war focused on Chinese promises to buy more American goods, but gave no indication

Bank of Canada once again faces the dilemma 2019-01-10 04:00:00As oil weakens and the tech sector booms, it really is a tale of two economies for Canada's chief central banker — with no place to hide from g

Biggest trend in new car technology? Super-sized screens 2019-01-09 22:08:14An electric vehicle startup has unveiled a jaw-dropping, 48-inch screen inside one of its prototypes at the global technology conference in Las Vegas.

Canada's main stock index posts biggest gains in 2019-01-09 17:59:13Canada's main stock index posted its strongest four-day gain in three years Wednesday as it was propelled by a large increase in the price of crude o

Algoma Steel Inc. getting help from governments as 2019-01-09 17:52:57Federal and provincial ministers will arrive in Sault Ste. Marie Thursday afternoon to announce financing assistance for new investments at Algoma Ste

Former B.C. financial consultant who owes $195K in 2019-01-09 17:27:37A Surrey woman who was largely banned from the investment industry because of her involvement in a Ponzi scheme has been sent to jail for 30 days for

Christian Science Monitor |

Recession is a risk in 2019. But maybe 2019-01-10 15:07:44A number of key trends in the economy are positive, from wage growth to low interest rates. Some of the biggest wild cards are trade policy and centra

Stocks dive, again. Does Wall Street foresee a 2019-01-10 15:07:44After several strong years, stock markets look rattled as 2018 draws to a close. A mix of factors signal a heightened risk of a slowdown, but an outri

Where local residents help birth the businesses that 2019-01-10 15:07:44Often new businesses rely on financing from a top-down system where bankers call the shots. For places that feel left behind, often communities o

From hemp to organic foods, farm bill embraces 2019-01-10 15:07:44Passage of the farm bill is a rite of Congress that often borders on the arcane. But this year’s version signals how American farming is gradual

Post-layoffs, GM fights to keep tax credit for 2019-01-10 15:07:44A $7,500 tax incentive for buyers of electric vehicles is critical for General Motors as it ramps up production in the EV market. But some government

Qatar leaves OPEC, cementing distance with Saudi Arabia 2019-01-10 15:07:44Qatar will leave the world's largest consortium of oil producing countries in a bid to expand natural gas and oil drilling even as oil prices remain

Which fork in the road to take? Detroit 2019-01-10 15:07:44US carmakers appear poised to try two paths forward at once, building more SUVs and pickups, which the US market loves, to pay their way along a 

It’s a wide world of charity out there. 2019-01-10 15:07:44As ‘Giving Tuesday’ arrives, it’s a good time to think about charitable donations. Increasingly, average givers are focusi

Preparing for tech shift, GM cuts thousands of 2019-01-10 15:07:44The largest automaker in the US, General Motors, announced Nov. 26 that it would cut as many as 14,000 workers in North America. The cuts affect both

Instead of amplifying human biases, can algorithms help 2019-01-10 15:07:44The rising use of artificial intelligence has become one of the dominant trends in business. On the heels of that trend come questions about fairness

Ahead of Black Friday, market sees red 2019-01-10 15:07:44The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 600 points on Nov. 20 as tech companies and retailers face losses and an oil surplus pushed barrel prices low

Hard times in farm country coincide with a 2019-01-10 15:07:44Farmers are resourceful by necessity. But many face a test as a US-China rift undercuts their exports – a challenge familiar to those who weathe



Disclaimer and Notice:WorldProNews.com is not responsible of these news or any information published on this website.