Chief Joe Alphonse, Tsilhqot’in National Government chair, weighed in on the current situation with the Wet’suwet’en Nation Wednesday on social media, saying he is often asked for his opinion.
Alphonse gave the Tribune permission to share his post:
“First of all, I believe this is a Wet’suwet’en problem that requires a Wet’suwet’en solution. This is about who gets to sign agreements and who will benefit from those agreements. All the Chiefs hereditary or elected Chiefs that signed or agreed to the agreement should own it by voicing their support of the agreement.
“To sign an agreement after there has been a long consultation process and a community vote that enabled the agreement to be signed is not a bad thing.
“However, there should be attempts to bring on the last hereditary Chiefs to agree and only the Wet’suwet’en can accomplish that through respectful dialogue with each other.
“There are always disadvantages that First Nations have to endure so finding a solution to this conflict is vital to creating a healthy community.
“Supporting the protest anywhere and what you are really supporting is for the Wet’suwet’en to remain divided. My hope is for respectful united position from the Wet’suwet’en as a whole!”
The Tsilhqot’in Nation won a Supreme Court of Canada ruling on June 26, 2014 granting the nation Aboriginal title to a defined area of land located in the Chilcotin, west of Williams Lake. Since then the nation has signed agreements with the provincial government and federal government working toward recognition of the title and jurisdiction.
Presently Alphonse is in New Zealand on a cultural tour with a Tsilhqot’in Nation delegation being hosted by Maori people to learn about how the Maori have implemented governance, laws, language and culture.