No we are not referring to a baseball team, the Witset Chiefs the “Wet’suwet’en Five” do not represent Wet’suwet’en clans and houses.
Let’s set the record straight, the “Wet’suwet’en Five” can say what they want to but it does not make them chief of the majority of Wet’suwet’en citizens.
The Society called “Office of Wet’suwet’en” pretend they are the hereditary chiefs of the 5 Wet’suwet’en clans, representing close to 4000 members, but the reality is the support is declining day by day, and a suggestion of 200 left over today supporters may well be exaggerated.
Posting ads for help on the front-line has now become a normal event. The Wet’suwet’en Five continue to exploit the ignorance of other First Nations in regards to who the Wet’suwet’en Nation really is.
“I have news for you that TURTLE called TRUTH will always win the race.”
Not long ago we saw a similar call go out from the Unist’ot’en Camp, sorely undermanned complaints of protestors expecting to be served and waited on. Without the pampering protestors have no reason to stay, especially when there is no action going on and no selfie opportunities to exploit.
The Wet’suwet’en people see 5 men and not so much the role of chief, who want to control both the money and 22,000-sq.-km of traditional territory that was the focus of a landmark Supreme Court of Canada case. Few would argue the money and control would end up in the hands of a top loaded 5 family system. Those closest to the chiefs would get the most of both money, power and land control.
There are around 4000 Wet’suwet’en members that belong to the following clans.
Gilseyhu (Big Frog)
Laksilyu (Small Frog)
Gitdumden (Wolf/Bear), also spelt Gitumden
Tsayu (Beaver clan)
All the land and cash would funnel down through the “Wet’suwet’en Five” in a top down priority, creating catastrophic consequences for everyone not living in Witset, or Hagwilget.
This funnel down system is exactly why there is such extreme poverty in some communities, while others have homes worth close to or exceed half million dollar houses, by people who never had jobs outside of the reserve, but had family in the top down system.
If not on a reserve this would be a million dollar plus piece of real estate, never mind the thousands of off reserve members, who may only get a few food stamps and a status card to help pay medical and dental, that’s about it.
The Wet’suwet’en Five love to head out in front of press cameras dressed up to the hilt, and wave the banner of Wet’suwet’en vs Canada, screaming help us defeat the imperialistic pigs, well they actually use the word colonizers with equal grace. They expect everyone to drop their 9 to 5 job and come running for the promise of a winning lotto jackpot that will mean they never have to work again in this lifetime.
In reality the odds favor the lotto ticket at a local retail outlet.
In the eyes of every member, they do belong to the above 5 clans, but do no necessarily agree on who is the hereditary chief is, or even many feel there is no need for a chief at all.
Nobody objects to the small following the Wet’suwet’en Five have, however the majority respect democracy, and the right to an equal say in the decision making process.
A landslide of Wet’suwet’en people are walking away from what they see is a sham and a travesty among the Wet’suwet’en people by primarily 5 men who are like self-proclaimed God’s who create Wet’suwet’en law at their convenience.
If the notorious Wet’suwet’en Five were serious about uniting the Wet’suwet’en, the truth is they did the exact opposite, never have the Wet’suwet’en been more divided. They talk about wanting self-governance, yet in 20 years like a cult they hide the rules from the citizens as a means to enslave them.
A genuine effort to write Wet’suwet’en law was never undertaken, they could have drafted a set of laws and bylaws, present it to all Wet’suwet’en communities for input, and agreed on a timetable to universally accept a draft set of rules that would become Wet’suwet’en law.
They could use a referendum that allows every Wet’suwet’en on or off reserve to approve self-government with Wet’suwet’en law guiding its application.
The problem was not that they failed to earn respect during the famous Delgamuukw claim, the problem is they lost all credibility in the 20 years following this case. You lost all credibility when you claimed that in the name of Wet’suwet’en Law, you stripped other chiefs of their title. If ever the chiefs had full authority, this day they proved it is no longer valid in today’s society. It was the Wet’suwet’en Five that shamed their very authority.
Instead of being united with a chest full of funds ready to take on the legal challenge, they decimated 14 million dollars, instead of having a war chest, you now have a ball and chain around your necks.
Then you have your few fans, that you dress up with Wet’suwet’en names and blankets, and have them go break the law in order to raise money through GoFumdMe to pay the lawyers’ fees.
Then you have the audacity to call that standing behind your people, real courage is when you stand in front of your people.
Then you wonder why everyone wants to have the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council replace the OFW as their official negotiator for land claims.
Its time hereditary chief’s step aside, let their educated children take over all negotiations, and allow the chiefs to become the symbolic signing authority once intelligent well thought out deals, well discussed with the people, then let the elders do the signing ceremony. That would be respect for elders, what is going on now is a selfish joke.
Use democracy to govern all aspects of governance and negotiation.
There is good reason we educate our children, so they can use their education to guide us into the future.
Without democracy at the heart of the Wet’suwet’en family, I see no hope for a resolution to this problem.
We are now also getting more and more photo comments from our Wet’suwet’en readers, below is one sent to us today. As long as they are decent, and or have a touch of humor, we will share them.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article.
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