Kahnawake rail barricade to stay in place for now despite draft Wet'suwet'en agreement, Mohawk leader says
'We want some more clarification from the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs'
Mohawk activists in Kahnawake, south of Montreal, will maintain their rail barricade for the time being, despite the proposed agreement that was reached Sunday between government officials and Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs in British Columbia.
"We want some more clarification from the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs before we make a decision," said Kenneth Deer, a representative of Kahnawake's traditional Longhouse political system who has been acting as a spokesperson for the activists at the blockade.
"It's a big decision to decide to take down the barricade or not, and they want to make sure they have everything before they make that decision," Deer told reporters at the barricade Sunday afternoon, where Mohawk flags flew from a tent and pointed wooden shelter protected by low concrete barriers.
Deer, who said he's been in contact with hereditary chiefs, said good things came out of the meeting in B.C., as well as "some things that were not so good."
He said the agreement includes discussions on who are custodians of the land, as well as a recognition of the hereditary chiefs, which he described as "significant."
"However, the pipeline is not resolved, and that's a very big issue, not only for the Wet'suwet'en chiefs but for everybody," he said.
The barricade in Kahnawake went up Feb. 8 in support of the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs who are opposed to a pipeline project slated to go through their ancestral territory.
A judge granted an injunction against the Kahnawake barricade last week, but it has not been enforced.
Earlier on Sunday, representatives of the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs, and the federal and British Columbian governments announced they had reached a deal aimed at resolving the dispute, which led to countrywide rail blockades.
Federal Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett and British Columbia Indigenous Relations Minister Scott Fraser would not give details on the proposed arrangement, saying it first has to be reviewed by the Wet'suwet'en people.
Wet'suwet'en hereditary leaders say they remain opposed to the pipeline. The proposed arrangement with the government is regarding questions around rights and title to their traditional territory.
Along with Kahnawake, Indigenous activists have also blockaded a rail line in Listuguj, in the Gaspé Penninsula, near Quebec's border with New Brunswick.
With files from La Presse Canadienne and The Canadian Press