Wet’suwet’en pipeline supporters say their message is not being heard

Bonnie George walked out of the Office of the Wet’suwet’en holding her hands up in the air in a triumphant gesture.

Just hours earlier, the Wet’suwet’en matriarch and former Coastal GasLink employee had complained about being locked out of the office and her voice not being heard.

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs were meeting with senior government ministers over a pipeline dispute that’s sparked national protests and led to railways and roads being shut down.

The talks began Thursday afternoon with Federal Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett and British Columbia Indigenous Relations Minister Scott Fraser. The meetings have continued over the weekend.

The hereditary chiefs who oppose the natural gas pipeline cutting through their traditional territory have seen shows of support across the country, but Wet’suwet’en members are divided on the project.

George is among those who support the pipeline and showed up with more than a dozen people at the Office of the Wet’suwet’en looking for a chance to speak.

“It shouldn’t be like that,” she said, pointing at a locked door. “We need to work together as one.”

George said she wasn’t invited to the meeting. Still, she went into the room on Thursday with others and made a statement, telling the gathering that the entire nation needs to be represented.

Hereditary Chief Na’moks, one of those opposed to the pipeline who has been sitting in meetings with ministers, said the Wet’suwet’en people who want the pipeline built have a “right to express themselves.”

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