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Band councils, hereditary chiefs play distinct governance roles: expert – Thompson Citizen

by ahnationtalk on January 10, 201949 Views

January 10, 2019

VICTORIA — Canadians are getting a crash course on the differences between non-elected hereditary chiefs and band councils elected by First Nations as RCMP arrests at a blockade in northern British Columbia launched pipeline protests across the country this week.

“The question of who represents Indigenous people is a thorny one,” said Val Napoleon, director of the Indigenous law research unit at the University of Victoria. “Just saying this system is good and that system is not, isn’t helpful. Indigenous legal traditions have to be part of the relationship with Canada.”

Fourteen people were arrested Monday on the traditional territory of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation. Coastal GasLink wants to build a natural gas pipeline through the territory and says it has signed agreements with the elected councils of all 20 First Nations along the path, including the Wet’suwet’en.

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