By Barry Ellsworth
TRENTON, Canada (AA) – The Canadian government reached an initial agreement Sunday with Indigenous chiefs who oppose the construction of a CAN$6 billion natural gas pipeline through their ancestral lands.
Details of the proposal, reached on the fourth day of talks, are not being released because the deal must still be reviewed by the Wet’suwet’en people in the west coast province of British Columbia.
However, Wet’suwet’en hereditary leader Woos said the hereditary chiefs are still opposed to the pipeline.
Elected officials with all 20 Indigenous bands signed off on the pipeline, which crosses their territory, including the Wet’suwet’en.
But the Wet’suwet’en are governed by both hereditary and elected chiefs, and the latter are against the pipeline.
Their opposition led to train blockades all over Canada as other tribes stood in solitary with the hereditary chiefs.
The agreement does include a new mechanism for consulting with Indigenous people on projects like the pipeline, officials said.
Wet’suwet’en hereditary chief Woos, who also goes by the name Frank Alec, said the proposal represents a milestone for future projects.
“This is where it starts,” he said. “The duty to consult as well as the rights and title (to land).”