They say the community closures, which were intended to limit the spread of COVID-19, prevented many members from attending meetings with leaders who announced that the agreement had been reached by the nation on Saturday. Thursday`s joint announcement by chiefs and governments, however, does not mention the controversial Coastal GasLink pipeline project, which sparked discussions that led to the draft agreement. All parties stated in March that the new agreement would effectively resolve the outstanding issue left unresolved at the end of the 1997 Supreme Court of Canada`s Delgamuukw decision. All parties say that further negotiations are under way to determine how the terms of the agreement will be implemented, particularly with respect to land rights and titles. They say the document is an “important first step” in the process, but does not consolidate any conditions on these issues once it is signed. Details of the proposed agreement, which was reached at the end of 29 February after three full days of negotiations, have not been made public. These details are supposed to be: “It seems a bit risky to have completely bypassed group councils without their consent, at least without their consent,” said Robert Janes, executive director of JFK Law in Victoria, which focuses on Aboriginal and constitutional litigation. He said these were “eminent issues” that were ignored and therefore “resulted in conflicts and disagreements on the ground.” This $6.6 billion ($5 billion) project is supported by 20 elected First Nations councils along the proposed route. Five of the six elected members of the wet`suwet nation also support the pipeline – but not hereditary leaders, and they say the group does not have the authority to negotiate such agreements. The Netherlands has lived in what is now British Columbia for thousands of years. They never signed contracts or sold their land to Canada. During the negotiations on the agreement, different levels of indigenous leadership were also put into competition. The region`s elected leaders say they have been excluded from the talks and have called for the agreement to be abolished.
Once the document is signed, all three parts will be on the clock, Cullen said. Instead, the agreement would apply only to future projects and other decisions concerning countries over which the heirs have always claimed sovereignty. Five elected councillors have signed agreements with Coastal Gaslink for the 670-kilometre-long pipeline through northern B.C. to Kitimat. However, sources within the wet`suwet nation told Global News that not all members of the nation were in a position to discuss or even review the agreement. Naziel said people should have the opportunity to discuss the proposed deal in a party room. The agreement, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), aims to avoid a repeat of last winter`s transnational protests and rail disruptions, which supported hereditary leaders against the construction of a pipeline through undest-devastated tribal areas. Wet`suwet`en`s heirs say they will sign a proposed agreement with provincial and federal governments earlier this year on land rights and titles on their traditional territories in North B.C. Construction of the project, which was halted for four days to allow for discussion between government chiefs and ministers, resumed shortly after the agreement.