Hereditary chief in B.C. says community needs LNG pipeline - APTN NewsAPTN News

Hereditary chief in B.C. says community needs LNG pipeline

Laurie Hamelin

A hereditary chief in British Columbia says people standing in the way of the LNG pipeline need to step aside and let the project get up and running.

“I’m just getting tired of hearing about it,” she says. “I’m just waiting for the shovel to get into the ground , let’s get on with our lives,” says Helen Michelle.

Michelle has been a hereditary chief for 43 years.

When the Coastal GasLink pipeline project was proposed in 2012, she says she made sure to participate in the consultation.

“Our elders told us that when you have opportunity with good business we are not prejudice,” she said. “If there is opportunity, work with them and this is the first opportunity we have ever had to work with a company, and they worked directly with us.”

The pipeline will run 670 kilometres from Dawson Creek, B.C. to a processing plant in Kitimat on the coast. There, the fractured gas will be liquefied and shipped to Asian markets.

190 kilometres of the pipeline will run through the Wet’suwet’en’s traditional lands.

Michelle grew up fishing and picking berries in the area.

She says she isn’t worried about damage to her territory.

But there are now two camps that have been set up within the territory to stop the pipeline.

In that territory, there are six different First Nations. Michelle is from the Skin Tyee Nation.

She says the pipeline will benefit her people.

“We as a small band are really struggling and we want better education and economic development for our young generation and also we have housing problems,” she says.

Michelle says negotiations with Coastal GasLink have been going on with elders and elected council for years.

She says the deal they signed with the company is good.

“This talk with Coastal GasLink didn’t start yesterday, it’s been years in progress. We supported it,” she says.

“We walked the line where Coastal GasLink was going to go, we were on the ground.”

The pipeline has the backing of elected leadership – but five Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs don’t want the project and say the band council doesn’t have the jurisdiction to give consent.

Michelle doesn’t agree.

“Myself and my hereditary chiefs and my elders and our community we worked with our young chief, and we worked with him to make this happen.”

Michelle says if the pipeline doesn’t go through, millions of dollars and many jobs will be lost for the Wet’suwet’en Nation.

At the moment, the gate Unist’ot’en camp on the Morice River Road bridge is still in place despite an interim injunction announced Friday by a B.C. judge. Access past the gate would allow the company to start work on a section of the pipeline.

A new checkpoint was built 20 kilometres down the road by another clan of the Wet’suwet’en Nation that is currently blocking access to the Unist’ot’en camp.

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17 Responses to “Hereditary chief in B.C. says community needs LNG pipeline”

    Lawrence D Spencer December 28, 2018 at 8:39 pm #

    Protect Mother Earth, this proposed pipeline will destroy the traditional habitat of fish and other wildlife.

    henry green December 26, 2018 at 4:38 am #

    a very divisive article -band councils -with titles like-Skin Tyee first nations band # 729 -population 60 –total registered population 165-are not nations -nor do they speak for or represent the_ “Wet’suwete’en “_nation in any -way-shape -or form and why do they not give there real titles and names ?

    brandon December 24, 2018 at 12:04 am #

    You’re not a creator – you’re a corrupt deceiver.

    Scottmoyles December 23, 2018 at 8:38 pm #

    There are more that one chief of the Wetsuweten Nation and responsibility of territory’s by each chief of each clan Corporate deals are being made here by industry .Industry and corperations have no clue how the clan system or this culture works and that proves that these consultations have never been properly executed with any firstnation in northern bc.
    So how can Trans Canada use one chief and their words to bullshit a way to proceed with a pipeline through a territory and people TransCanada has no concept of .Im from Nfld and have been with the people over 25 years living there and still learning at my own pace.The people are transparent as can be concerning their cultural lifestile or if you will, there way of life.
    The only thing of concern i witnessed at a couple of lng meetings is that they were repeatedly by myself and others even a chief sittin beside me, what if a pipeline blows up and causes a fire? Lng guy said its impossible for them to blow up and even went as far as showing us a demonstration on a tiny scale of lng .The class left and people were saying that the guy was lieing.Then Prince George pipline blew up.

    Werner Rhein December 22, 2018 at 8:00 pm #

    Yes, this First Nation needs better education. They obviously haven’t heard of global warming and climate change.
    Does she live in her community od does she have a Mansion in Hawai od Florida, like so many Chiefs and councilors do and let their people suffer at home alone.

    Klyde williams December 22, 2018 at 6:24 am #

    I don’t mind the work for the people but what’s goin to b left for the young generation comin bhind us money mades our people fight each other that the whites man puts on the table I seein this happin all my life so far.

    Leona December 21, 2018 at 7:09 pm #

    She appears to desire mone and jobs
    Im laughung at her desperateness.
    Her alignment ensures that other nations that will be the barer of this project will become contamination zones.
    She cares little for the natural environment.
    She advocates for the ruin of her own lands as she pretends to know anything about the project and its downfalls.
    Fracking is no myth.
    Its a danger to water and life.

    Lillian Gogag December 21, 2018 at 6:07 pm #

    The “elected leadership” is a foreign governance system which is why there is so much unrest among First Nations people caused by the federal government who put the system in place. Both federal and provincial governments won’t recognize that the traditional governance system is the hereditary chiefs and the membership. There will never be reconciliation until the traditional governance system is honoured, acknowledged and implemented. I call upon all governments and corporations to quit creating unrest among First Nations and Aboriginal peoples. Implement a true government to government relationship. Only then will you see progress.

    Dylsy December 21, 2018 at 3:33 pm #

    You have one opinion of one “hereditary chief,” and you are using as a weapon to reduce the efforts of countless individuals. This pipeline is an effort to export oil and make money quickly before the world realizes they no longer want it. The world is going downhill fast and fracking causes numerous issues not to mention profits a big oil company which is literally the pinnacle of evil. We don’t need it. The world is changing and you are supporting dinosaurs who are ensuring our collective death. Don’t listen to this nonsense. Stop using your time and resources to reinforce a white supremacist society. They will not let you into their armed bunker when the world is on fire.

    Madeline December 21, 2018 at 2:18 pm #

    There’s no turning back if they build the pipeline. You want better eduction, economic development, improved housing??? At the cost of Mother Earth??? First Nations people are supposed to be leaders in protecting our precious land and waters. The above article is all about greed. This is an embarrassment. Shame on you!!

    Denise Douglas December 21, 2018 at 11:15 am #

    After a colonially elected chief has been bought out. They all speak the same language. Saying they want better education and economy. Its all government chickenfeed. They will never again revere the word of their people and theie

    Monica December 21, 2018 at 8:09 am #

    Does anyone consider where this “fracked gas” comes from in B.C.? Do people understand the consiquences or reprucusions to come? Even with out a leak, and who it will effect? What about our duties to represent the weaker. Dis heartening and sad to know this is how well people look after others. Sounds like some need to give their heads a shake and stop suckling off the tit of Industry, think of others as we where taught

    Larry Thompson December 21, 2018 at 6:00 am #

    It’s a Natural Gas pipeline like the one going to your house
    It’s not liquid until it is chilled at an LNG plant
    Everyone gets their panties in a knot when they think it’s a liquid
    I know this because I’ve had to explain it to a few people and it’s pretty frustrating!

    Denee austin December 21, 2018 at 5:45 am #

    She is not a recognized chief.

    John Ridsdale December 21, 2018 at 4:43 am #

    Wow! Come to the feast hall, that’s where our laws are made


    Jeannie December 21, 2018 at 4:37 am #

    United we stand, divided we fall. I say yes to the protection of Mother Earth.

    Debbie Pierre December 21, 2018 at 4:35 am #

    I am born Gilseyu and my father clan is Laksamshu, my Grandmother held a name guiding the Gilseyu for many years. I have never been talked to about any LNG pipeline discussion or decisions. WHC “step aside” then how did Ms. Michelle assert her HC authority and consult with the YOUNG CHIEF????