A group of Gitxsan hereditary chiefs are not happy with Stikine MLA Nathan Cullen.
The chiefs and their supporters showed up to Cullen’s constituency office in Hazelton and issued an “eviction notice” to the NDP representative.
Why are they unhappy? The chiefs say that Cullen has done a poor job advocating for First Nations following the recent RCMP raid on Wet’suwet’en territory that resulted in dozens of arrests.
Many of the Wet’suwet’en people arrested were women. They were protesting the Coastal GasLink pipeline, which they say will cause negative impacts to the environment and also infringe on their territorial rights.
“He failed to stand up for the poor people,” said one Gitxsan chief who was quoted in the Interior News. “Everybody is getting rich from our land and we remain poor.”
The eviction notice to Cullen states that “you failed to ensure the safety of your constituents, including Gitxsan and Wet’suwet’en people from the violence and excessive force used by overly armed RCMP at or near Houston B.C. and New Hazelton B.C. during the months of October to November 2021.”
Part of the anger towards Cullen seems to stem from a Facebook post he made in the wake of last week’s arrests. “The province has worked for many months, and in good faith, with the hereditary chiefs and the Office of the Wet’suwet’en to build a solid government-to-government relationship,” Cullen said in the post, while calling the arrests “an incredibly unfortunate and traumatic event.”
“Stop with the avoidance and circle talk. Speak straight,” Sharon M Ness commented on his post. “Stand up for what you know is right.”
Cullen said he wants to find common ground with Gitxsan hereditary chiefs who served him the notice. “I’m sure we can come to some kind of understanding so that we’re not denying people services that they need, because that doesn’t really help anybody from my perspective,” he told the Interior News.
According a report today by CFNR First Nations Radio in Terrace, Cullen will be meeting later this week with the Gitxsan Hereditary Chiefs who issued him the notice. According to Cullen, he is “confident they can come to an understanding which will allow him to continue to work in the area”.