Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs heading to Ontario as blockade continues
OTTAWA -- Five Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs are travelling across the country today to meet with the Mohawk First Nation at Tyendinaga, near Belleville, Ont., amid ongoing protests and rail blockades that have shut down much of the country's rail system.
Gitxsan Hereditary Chief Norman Stephens confirmed the plan in a phone call to CTV News from a northern B.C. airport, where he and the five Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs were waiting to board their flight.
The chiefs will also head to Kahnawake, a Mohawk reserve near Montreal.
"Yes, the Chiefs are coming to Kahnawake, but we don't know when," said Kenneth Deer, secretary for the Mohawk Nation at Kahnawake.
It's likely that the chiefs will arrive either Friday or Saturday, according to Deer. He added that the Mohawk Nation at Kahnawake stand in solidarity with the five Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs.
When asked whether the chiefs are expected to head to Ottawa, Deer said he didn't know.
Protesters have been blockading rail lines near Belleville in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs who oppose the proposed construction of a natural gas pipeline through their territory in northern B.C.
After the RCMP moved in to enforce an injunction at the site, protesters across the country blocked access to railway lines in support of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, who oppose the controversial Coastal GasLink pipeline project, though it has been approved by elected band councils.
These blockades have stopped CN Rail from transporting across the eastern rail network, halted most Via Rail passenger service Canada-wide, and sparked calls from the opposition for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to return to Ottawa to respond to the situation.
5 Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs are heading east to meet w/Mohawks in Tyendinaga. It's unclear if they will be meeting w/ those participating in the blockade or w/ the elected Chief & council members (or both). No word on substance of meeting or when it will take place. #cdnpoli— Heather Wright (@HeatherCTV) February 19, 2020
BREAKING: We've confirmed that Hereditary Chief Norman Stephen is at the airport with five Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs who are heading to meet with the Mohawks at Tyendinaga. #cdnpoli— Rachel Gilmore (@atRachelGilmore) February 19, 2020