“This Makes Them Dictators”: Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Subchief Slammed “These Five So-Called Hereditary Chiefs,” Says They Don’t Speak For Wet’suwet’en

It appears the Liberals have been colossally ignorant in making a deal with five chiefs who don’t even seem to represent those they’re claiming to.

With more and more questions being raised about the legitimacy, or lack therof, of the five hereditary chiefs claiming to speak for the Wet’suwet’en People, there are a growing number of individuals coming forward with those concerns.

At the beginning, this wasn’t such a big problem. But now, the Liberals have elevated and negotiated directly with an individual going by the title ‘Chief Woos,’ who appears to have only been in that ‘hereditary’ role for less than a year, when the title was taken away from a woman and handed to him.

Now, there is attention on a recent story by the Globe & Mail, discussing the concerns of a hereditary subchief in the Wet’suwet’en territory:

“These five so-called hereditary chiefs, who say they are making decisions on behalf of all Wet’suwet’en, do not speak for the Wet’suwet’en,” Gary Naziel said. “They are neither following nor abiding by our traditional laws. They are changing them to suit their own purposes, to benefit themselves,” he told The Globe and Mail.

In doing so, Mr. Naziel adds, many hereditary chiefs and matriarchs are being disrespected, bullied and targeted. This echoes what Rita George, a hereditary subchief and expert in Wet’suwet’en law, said on Thursday. Mr. Naziel, from the Laksilyu (Small Frog) Clan who was groomed for leadership from birth, says the Wet’suwet’en name “is being dragged through the mud and used by other First Nations across Canada to wage their own battles.”

Naziel added that the five chiefs are “changing our system,” and that by refusing to consult with hereditary subchiefs in the feast hall, “this makes them dictators.”

Naziel says three of the five chiefs, including the most prominent – Frank Alec – are not actually from the Wet’suwet’en nation:

Naziel explained that the system is matrilineal, meaning the lineage is inherited from mothers. He says Frank Alec, Alphonse Gagnon, and Warner Naziel “are not from the Wet’suwet’en nation”:

[Mr. Gagnon] and [Mr. Naziel] are Gitxsan. [Mr. Alec] is from the Lake Babine Nation.”

As a result, they are said to be “name holders,” and not actually hereditary chiefs. According to Naziel, “Name holders cannot have any say for what happens on our territories. They cannot make decisions on behalf of the clan.”

As reported previously, both Frank Alec and Warner Naziel (cousin of Gary Naziel), got their titles from women who were stripped of them:

“They did not get their names the proper way. They took them,” Gary Naziel said.”

These facts – which have barely been reported and have gone unmentioned by the Trudeau government – show that the Liberals have been complicit in a coup against the Wet’suwet’en People, allowing legitimate leaders to be silenced by usurpers.

Spencer Fernando

Photo – YouTube