First Nation Kicks Out Pipeline Surveyors in BC

B. McPherson

A First Nation group in BC has told surveyors for the Pacific Trails Pipeline that they are not welcome on their territory. The Wet’suwet’enNation has closed the roads leading to their territory. Surveyors were marking a route for the ApacheTrails  Pipeline which is slated to carry natural gas to Kitimat.

Much of the territory in BC is claimed by the pre-European people and they have been united in their opposition to gas and petroleum pipelines being built through their territory.

The blockading group said the province does not have the right to approve development on their traditional lands, which lie northwest of Kitimat, the future home of an Apache Canada liquefied natural gas plant and the tanker port for the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline. CBC News

Some other bands along the proposed route have signed agreements and stipulated benefits, but the Wet’suwet’en Nation has pointed out on its web page that there are 500 issues attached to the environmental certificate for the gas pipeline. It is not yet clear which agency is responsible for enforcing and solving these issues.

Land claims and treaty rights are a big part of BC. When European settlers came to this area, it was already settled by those we now call First Nations. Some treaties were signed with the first settlers and later ignored while in other areas land and resources were simply appropriated. There is now a years long process of negotiations trying to settle the land claims and treaty rights.

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