Wet'suet'en Classroom Resources
Who are the Wet'suet'en?
Territory, a nation, and a people, 22,000 square km of 5 matreilineal clans, 13 house groups.
Elected Chiefs vs Hereditary Chiefs and Land & Rights
The First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Education Association of Ontario provide the following breakdown to better understand the Wet’suwet’en law and governance system:
"The Wet’suwet’en hereditary governance system predates colonization and continues to exist today.
The Wet’suwet’en and Gitxsan Hereditary Chiefs, not the Indian Act Chiefs and Councils, were the plaintiffs in the landmark Delgamuukw-Gisday'way Aboriginal title case.
They provided the court with exhaustive and detailed evidence of the Wet’suwet’en and Gitxsan governance system and the legal authority of Hereditary Chiefs.
Unless otherwise authorized by the Indigenous Nation members, the authority of elected Chiefs and Councils is limited to the powers set out under the Indian Act. The Indian Act does not provide authority for a Chief and Council to make decisions about lands beyond the boundaries of the First Nation’s reserves.
By contrast, the Hereditary Chiefs are responsible under Wet’suwet’en law and governance for making decisions relating to their ancestral lands.
It is these lands that the Hereditary Chiefs are seeking to protect from the impacts of the pipeline project, not Indian Act reserve lands. "
(First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Education Association of Ontario)
Thinking About Land and Rights
Resources to Support Learning
CBC Podcast (6 min) March 2, 2020
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Carolyn Bennett discusses the “proposed arrangement" reached over the rail blockades supporting the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs, who are opposed to a proposed Coastal Gas Link pipeline.
Check out the following pages on this website for more information: