Yesterday, for The Real News Network, I interviewed indigenous lawyer, scholar and activist Pam Palmater about the blockades happening around the country in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en people.
Pam expressed the view that we are witnessing a “watershed moment” in the defence of indigenous rights because “Canadians are standing with us in droves.”
Pam also responded to the pro-pipeline argument that band councils have consented to the construction of the CoastalGasLink pipeline on Wet’suwet’en territory. Pam explained that “chiefs and counselors, which is an imposed system on our traditional nations, have very, very limited jurisdiction and powers. It’s limited to the reserve lands. They certainly don’t have jurisdiction outside of those reserve lands. The pipeline doesn’t propose to cross any reserve lines. Whether or not the elected council did or did not consent to the pipeline is beside the issue for several reasons. One, it doesn’t cross reserve lands, they don’t have any jurisdiction over it. And two, the real legal authority over Aboriginal title lands, which is all of the traditional territory, which is far greater than the little tiny reserve lands that had been set aside, is with the hereditary chiefs.”
The full interview can be seen here: