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There is no longer 22,000 km² for the Office of the Wet’suwet’en to Negotiate


by Tse Wedi ‘Elh

Mountains in Wet’suwet’en territory
Mountains in Wet’suwet’en territory

Moricetown, BC: The ‘Unis Hot’en (People of the Headwaters) members of the C’ilhts’ekyu Clan of the Wet’suwet’en Nation are publically declaring that the Office of the Wet’suwet’en does not represent their interests on rights and title for their lands, waters, or membership. Any claims from the Office of the Wet’suwet’en for the representation and management for any of their unceded territories or unceded rights are false and misguided. The C’ilhts’ekhyu traditional territories cover an area that is approximately 2/3 of the entire land mass of the Wet’suwet’en people. 

In a letter that was signed and dated November 16, 2009, and sent to the Office of the Wet’suwet’en, as well as Imperial Metals regarding Huckleberry Mines Ltd., this C’ilhts’ekhyu group declared themselves sovereign from the Office of the Wet’suwet’en. They stated:

“The C’ilhts’ekhyu (a.k.a. Gil_seyhyu) Clan will no longer be represented with any past, present or future business activities that come/came from the Office of the Wet’suwet’en (a.k.a. the “Wet’suwet’en Treaty Office Society”; or the “Office of the Wet’suwet’en Society”). This includes but is not limited to Office of the Wet’suwet’en Memorandum of Understanding Agreements, Consultation and Accommodation Agreements, Economic Benefit Agreements, Impact Benefit Agreements, Term Sheets, or any other similar agreements with companies or crown agencies that reside or do business on C’ilhts’ekhyu territories. This also includes any business that associates C’ilhts’ekhyu territories with the Office of the Wet’suwet’en’s Holh Khun Trust. This letter reiterates our statement made on October 25, 2009, at the All Clans Governance Meeting where the C’ilhts’ekhyu formerly announced to the hereditary chiefs of other clan groups, the Office of the Wet’suwet’en staff, and representing government agents that C’ilhts’ekhyu will be representing itself with all business associated with C’ilhts’ekhyu territories and C’ilhts’ekyu membership.”

This assertion of traditional territory is not limited to the Office of the Wet’suwet’en but is also relevant for any “INAC Bands” or “INAC Tribal Councils” which may lay claim to any of the C’ilhts’ekhyu territories within the BC Treaty Process.

This media release also serves as a reminder, for those parties who were made aware during the October 23-25, 2009, All Clans Meeting that was held in Moricetown BC, that the ‘Unis Hot’en reject the British Columbia Treaty Process, and reject any discussions with the representatives from the proposed Northern Gateway Enbridge Pipeline. This statement was made alongside all of the other Wet’suwet’en Clans and Houses who stood in solidarity against the Treaty Process and the proposed Enbridge Pipeline. There will be NO Negotiations on interests relating to the C’ilhts’ekhyu territories or membership. This includes any discussions/negotiations with representatives from the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, National Energy Board, or Environmental Assessment Office of BC regarding any proposed industrial activities on our lands.

“The ‘Unis Hot’en feel that this decision is a positive step for the C’ilhts’ekhyu in traditionally exercising and asserting our title and rights over the entirety of our territories,” says hereditary chief Knedebeas (Warner William).

Freda Huson, the ‘Unis Hot’en spokesperson states, “Our Clan and House members have utilized our traditional territories for thousands of years. We continue to spend a lot of time harvesting food resources on our lands and waterways throughout the seasons. We need to protect our lands from misrepresentation, exploitation, and threats of industrial destruction.”

For more information contact:

Freda Huson, spokesperson for the ‘Unis Hot’en people in the C’ilhts’ekhyu Clan. Any communication regarding ‘Unis Hot’en business will be brought to the attention of the new ‘Unis Hot’en company called Tse Wedi ‘Elh at: (778) 210-1100 or nfhuson @ moricetown dot ca

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Comments

This is also my home...my ancestors land...

In support of Tse Wedi Elh!!! I live in the heart of this territory and I see first hand what the mining industry does. One of the most beautiful picking and hunting grounds is literally destroyed by the huckleberry mines. At one time we brought our children to the Tatsa area where we roamed in the footsteps of our grandfather, Jimmy Andrew. And my uncle, Tony Andrew, knew many stories and legends of this territory. This was their home, their livilhood in which they survived and lived. I personally expierenced along with my family. Most of the berry grounds is just a ground of dust, gravel and dirt and development destroyed what once thrived there. I do have pictures in my archives stored in the closet. I wll begin to dig them out and publish them as reminders to what is at stake.
Shirlee Ann - Tatla, Francois Lake headwaters of Nadina River BC

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