Here’s how the Wet’suwet’en dispute breaks down in graphics

Marches were planned across the country over the long weekend in support of Wet’suwet’en First Nation hereditary chiefs.

Wet’suwet’en members and their allies have been locked in a dispute with Coastal GasLink, which has plans for a 640-kilometre LNG pipeline from the northeast of British Columbia to the coast.

Support for the hereditary chiefs has grown since January 2019, when the RCMP entered Wet’suwet’en territory to enforce an injunction against protesters camped at a blockade of the LNG line. Since then, rail blockades and protests in solidatary of the hereditary chiefs — who reject the pipeline being built on their unceded ancestral lands — have cropped up across the country.

Here are some key things to know.

The dispute

The key issue in the dispute is Coastal Gas Link’s plan to build a natural gas pipeline that would cross Wet’suwet’en traditional territory.

How it works

The Wet’suwet’en nation is divided into five independent First Nations governed by band councils, spread over more than 20 small reserves. Each Wet’suwet’en house is headed by a hereditary chief, chosen “based on their nature, their comportment and their knowledge and skills.”

What will Ottawa do?

Ottawa argues the Coastal GasLink pipeline project’s standoff with certain Wet’suwet’en activists is an issue for the company and the B.C. government to resolve. Over the weekend, Trudeau conferred with cabinet ministers and a meeting has been proposed with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, provincial and federal governments. Today, Trudeau is meeting with an emergency group to discuss the solidarity rail blockades that have shut down swaths of the country’s train system.

With files from The Canadian Press.

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