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Critics question closed-door treaty making – Business in Vancouver

May 26, 2020

The Wet’suwet’en people have been fighting for decades for legal recognition of rights and title to 22,000 kilometres of unceded territory in B.C.’s Interior.

So why would some members of the Wet’suwet’en – including elected chiefs and members of one of the nation’s five clans – be opposed to a landmark agreement that would acknowledge Wet’suwet’en rights and title?

“I’m not opposed to it, but it needs to be done right, and we need to know exactly where we’re going to stand before and after,” said Dan George, chief of Ts’il Kaz Koh (Burns Lake Band).

The problem, say the elected chiefs, is that the deal was negotiated behind closed doors by a handful of unelected hereditary chiefs, who excluded elected band councillors from negotiations, and that the agreement signed with the federal and provincial governments may further consolidate power into the hands of a few unelected chiefs, who generally inherit their titles.

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