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Who speaks for the Wet’suwet’en people? Making sense of the Coastal GasLink conflict – The Globe and Mail

January 24, 2020

Hon. Jody Wilson-Raybould, P.C., Q.C., M.P., is the independent member of Parliament for the British Columbia riding of Vancouver Granville.

“Our people are in a profound period of transition and of nation building or rebuilding.”

I said these words when I was regional chief of the B.C. Assembly of First Nations some eight years ago. They remain true today.

Understanding this transition is key to making sense of the conflict regarding Coastal GasLink’s pipeline and who speaks for the Wet’suwet’en people in approving or not approving developments through their territory. Much of the pipeline dialogue is framed in simplistic ways: Build the pipeline, or don’t; respect Indigenous rights, or not. But such frames do not help us understand how we got here, and what we must do to avoid or quickly address such conflicts. Let me explain.

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