‘It’s very ironic that environmentalists are interfering in our business since they actually killed our way of life by stopping the fur trade’
EDMONTON — First Nations leaders who are pro-resource development say their voices are being drowned out by environmental activists who have co-opted a protest movement started by anti-pipeline hereditary chiefs. They’re also raising questions about who should speak for the Wet’suwet’en First Nation.
“We feel like we’ve been hijacked by the protesters who have their own agenda on this,” said Theresa Tait Day, whose hereditary name is Wi’haliy’te. “They’ve used our people to advance their agenda.”
Tait Day, president of a group called the Wet’suwet’en Matrilineal Coalition who was stripped of her title of hereditary chief after supporting the Coastal GasLink project, testified at a parliamentary committee in Ottawa on Tuesday.
According to a statement released by Tait Day, only a limited number of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs oppose the pipeline and the broader community wants it to proceed, including the majority of the elected chiefs.
“I think that it’s very ironic that environmentalists are interfering in our business since they actually killed our way of life by stopping the fur trade,” said Dan George, a Wet’suwet’en elected band chief for Burns Lake. “I think it’s started out as a Wet’suwet’en issue and it will be fixed as a Wet’suwet’en issue.”