"The approach of co-existence"

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For Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and their supporters, it has been a week filled with arrests. The RCMP’s enforcement of the Coastal GasLink injunction has drawn outrage across Canada.

But in order to understand how we got here, it’s important to look back at the precedent-setting Delgamuukw decision.

In 1997, the Supreme Court of Canada established Aboriginal title to unceded land. It should have been an opportunity for reconciliation. Instead, behind closed doors the B.C. government and corporate lobbyists sought the “surrender” of First Nations land rights, documents obtained by The Narwhal reveal.

Today, the Wet’suwet’en still hold unceded rights to their territory, but the province and the national police force continue to defend the interests of Coastal GasLink.

“If the government had taken the approach of co-existence advocated by the court, we wouldn’t be dealing with what we’re dealing with today,” said Hagwilnegh, who worked as a translator for Elders testifying in court in their Wet’suwet’en language.

Respect for rights goes far beyond land title: the Wet’suwet’en are arguing that the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office failed to consider the correlation between work camps and violence against Indigenous peoples — a finding from the National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.

There are 14 work camps planned for the GasLink project, including one set to house 400 people just 13 kilometres from the Unist’ot’en Healing Centre.

The Narwhal's photographer Amber Bracken spent a month at the Unist'ot'en camp, to capture the moment you see in the photo above (and many others, which you can see in her stunning photo essay).

And while journalists don’t like to become part of the story, we spent time this past week voicing concern about reports of RCMP threats of arrest against reporters. The RCMP rapidly changed its position, after outcry from news organizations like ours, Amnesty International and the Canadian Association of Journalists.

“There’s no role for police to decide they’re going to step in between journalists and the public’s right to know,” Canadian Association of Journalists president Karyn Pugliese told The Narwhal. We couldn’t agree more.

Keep scrolling for more of our reader-funded journalism from the past week.

Emma Gilchrist
Editor-in-Chief

P.S. The deadline for our two reporting jobs is this Friday. Check out our job postings if you haven't already and get those applications in!

RCMP exclusion zone called ‘unlawful’ as police arrest matriarchs at Unist’ot’en healing camp

By Sarah Cox

Coastal GasLink still lacks legal authorization to build pipeline through area where Wet’suwet’en and their supporters have been arrested. Read more.

Industry, government pushed to abolish Aboriginal title at issue in Wet’suwet’en stand-off, docs reveal

By Martin Lukacs and Shiri Pasternak

Documents obtained by The Narwhal reveal representatives of resource industries and government sought the ‘surrender’ of Indigenous land rights in the wake of the precedent-setting Delgamuukw decision, which affirmed Aboriginal title on unceded territory. Read more.

B.C. failed to consider links between ‘man camps,’ violence against Indigenous women, Wet’suwet’en argue

By Carol Linnitt

A formal request for judicial review submitted with the B.C. Supreme Court argues B.C.’s Environmental Assessment Office extended permit for Coastal GasLink pipeline without considering the findings of the National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. Read more.

RCMP backtracks, says officers won’t stop journalists from reporting on Wet’suwet’en raid

By Stephanie Wood

Faced with widespread criticism, police back off on threats to arrest media reporting along the Coastal GasLink pipeline route in northwest B.C. Read more.

Fort Nelson First Nation lands permit to transform aging gas field into geothermal energy project

By Ainslie Cruickshank

The nation hopes the plant, which has the potential to produce both electricity and direct heat, will inspire other northern communities to follow suit. Read more.

In photos: Wet’suwet’en matriarchs arrested as RCMP enforce Coastal GasLink pipeline injunction

By Amber Bracken

Police made arrests Monday on the Morice River bridge, the sole entrance point to the Unist'ot'en land-based healing centre. Read more — and see the stunning photos — here. The Narwhal in the world Guess what?!

The Narwhal is one of 15 North American newsrooms selected to participate in the Local News Membership Accelerator, run by the Facebook Journalism Project and the Lenfest Institute for Journalism!

We are one of just two Canadian organizations selected to be part of the training, which will give us the opportunity to work with news industry experts to strengthen our membership strategies both on and off Facebook. Thanks to our friends at The Walrus for featuring Jimmy Thomson's in-depth piece about a $25 million carbon-offset project that's struggling to find buyers — and how that's affecting conservation efforts in the Great Bear Rainforest.

(You can also read it on The Narwhal.) What we're reading Share this newsletter signup link with a llama you love. Copyright © 2020 The Narwhal, All rights reserved.
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