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REPORTING · 1st June 2013
Merv Ritchie
It is humorous how the media of BC and Canada continue to ignore and sidestep the reality. The land the pipelines need to cross does not even belong to their governments. The land remains under the sole and distinct ownership of the Indigenous people who the British and Canadian settlers attempted to exterminate by germ warfare in the mid to late 1800’s and then through the cultural genocide of the Residential School system of the 1900’s. There was no war and there is no treaty arrangements, the land therefore cannot be claimed by Canada or British Columbia.

“Always remember this, When you read something in the newspaper or see it on TV where they talk about this pipeline going through, remember they are proposed, they do not have our permission. As Wet’suwet’en we have 22,000 square kilometres of property. That property belongs to the Wet’suwet’en.” Stated Chief Na'moks on behalf of all the Chiefs and elders of the Wet’suwet’en Nation.

“We have been un-ceded, undefeated, non-treaty lands. We’ll remain that way. We’ll continue to carry the voice of our people, of your people.”

After hosting a traditional feast to specifically declare there will be no pipelines across Wet’suwet’en lands Na'moks and others gathered ‘proxy’ votes to attend an Enbridge Investor gathering. Na'moks explained what was stated to the investors.

“[We went to the meeting] to tell their investors exactly what our law means, exactly how long it will take them to defeat us. The answer to when will they defeat us, never!”

He continued and explained where and how the authority of his message to the Governments of BC and Canada, as well as to Enbridge and the gas pipeline executives, is derived.

“I sit as the highest Chief of the Tsayu, of the Beaver Clan of the Wet’suwet’en. Our Chiefs have asked me to travel and tell everybody what we have been up to. […] As Na'moks; as my elders, as my fellow Chiefs have asked me to do […] always remember I do not act alone, when we make a decision it is communal, it means that everybody agrees; the Chiefs, the Houses, the Clans, the Members, the Guests on our territories. They must agree with what we do and then we move forward, because we move forward as one; that’s where the strength is.

“You’ve got to remember we’ve been fighting pipelines since they first came to us in 2002. Then they came to the public’s attention in 2006. From the very first day we told them no, you will not enter our territories.

"They didn’t think we were serious because as far as they were concerned we were just another Indian problem. The problem with that is they got educated and they’re getting better at understanding that when we speak we speak on behalf of all British Columbians, all Canadians and all democratic countries of this world.

“I get upset and my voice gets a little shaky because after all these years of telling them ‘No’ they still think there’s a chance of maybe. Everybody knows what ‘No’ means. English is a funny language but it’s not so funny that you can’t understand it if you put your heart and mind to it."

Na'moks had a very specific message for the Premier of BC and the Prime Minister of Canada.

“[…] we follow our laws that have been there for thousands upon thousands of years. Our laws are stronger, longer and more powerful than any law that British Columbia or Canada has. Powerful because in our Nation we have 13 Prime Ministers; that’s how rich we are. Poor Canada only has one. We’re not elected. The names that we carry are thousands of years old. Stories that we know, the history we have, is long before European contact.”

And as for the Natural Gas pipelines proposed after saying ‘No’ so many times, Na'moks related the following;

“The President of Chevron, the Vice president of Chevron, the President of Apache Corporation, the Vice President of Apache Corporation, met with us, the High Chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en. They jumped in their Lear Jet from Houston Texas and they met us on Friday (May 10) at our office in Smithers. Because we needed to look them in the eye and tell these multi-billionaires that they’re so poor, all they have is money.

"The one and only time we’ll invite them on our territory so we could look them in the eye and tell them they’re not welcome.”

Chief Na'moks had more to say;

“I am a very proud man, I’m proud because I am half Gitxsan and I am half Wet’suwet’en. I‘m a very proud because I carry the name of Chief Na'moks and I have the full support of our people to protect the land, the water, the culture, the air. As Wet’suwet’en people we know we have a high high duty that we must uphold. The water that goes through our territories flow into the […] Skeena River, into the Northcoast of British Columbia. We have a right to look after that water for our people down river.

“I can always call the Gitxsan my cousins but I look here and see Mohawk, Gitxsan, Wet’suwet’en, Tsimshian, Nisga’a, Tahltan, we’re all cousins. Our elders say we are all related because we all drink water, we’re all related because we have a heart, we’re all related because we have a soul, corporations don’t.

“The current government of Canada, your Prime Minister, not mine, said that these things will happen, but he’s not come to us to tell us that, because he knows we will refuse him.”

In regards to the re-election of Christy Clark and the Premiership of BC Chief Na'moks began by stating he must respect all human beings but had difficult words the main media did not reprint.

“Very broken hearted when I woke up on the 15th of this month, there’s Christy Clark sitting in her seat again. Newspapers asked me what did I think of it. I couldn’t think of anything except something humorous. I must respect all human beings but I will tell you what I told them and I’ll tell you it did not hit the print. I told her, I don’t care if she goes on a diet, I don’t care if she wears mini skirts, I don’t care if she buys a brand new broom to ride around on, she will never be my Premier.

“As Na'moks I have Premiers, these are my wing Chiefs, these are my Elders, these are my advisers; they have a right to tell Na'moks what he can and cannot do.”

“I don’t know why they think they can use this here so called authority to tell us what to do, to try and muzzle us. It doesn’t work, it just makes us speak louder, it makes us prouder to stand up for what is right; to stand up for you, to stand up for the land, for the water, for the future.

“When we talk about the future we often forget when we stand alone everybody only sees one person. If they look hard enough they’ll see ten thousand generations standing behind us and ten thousand more standing in front of us."

Chief Na'moks final words were to the investors of the proposed pipelines.

“The investors of all these proposed pipelines, they are only there for money. How are they going to feel after 20 years of Court with us, what will their money be worth to them then? That’s what we need to hit them with. Take their money; put it elsewhere, not on these here wasted pipedreams.”

Traditional Hereditary Chiefs of the original peoples of the Northwest region of British Columbia stand united with the position of the Wet’suwet’en. Only elected band councils and organizations following the principles and procedures of British and Canadian systems of predatory industrialist and trader dictated economic ventures support the destruction of environment and life over personal monetary gain.

The pipeline battles and the destruction of the northwest environment and peoples may be the battle of generations, a test for the survival of planet earth.

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