The Trudeau government has been accused of sowing new divisions within the Wet’suwet’en community by elected leaders of the First Nation and one hereditary chief, according to the National Post.
The leaders who have spoken out against the agreement have said that some Indigenous leaders are viewing the agreement as an opportunity to grab more power.
The deal between Ottawa and the Wet’suwet’en leaders is reportedly granting over-reaching power to the hereditary chiefs who are unelected and thus unaccountable to the First Nation.
Earlier this year, Canada was paralyzed by a string of protests made in solidarity with the hereditary chiefs who opposed the construction of a pipeline. These protests—under the banner of #ShutdownCanada—affected ports, highways, and rail lines between the country's biggest cities.
A Wet’suwet’en hereditary chief said that they pleaded with the minister of Crown-Indigenous to delay the agreement, saying the First Nation needed greater time to determine how much power they wanted to give to the unelected hereditary branch of their government.
Going further still, a group of four elected band chiefs said that the Trudeau government had completely ignored important voices within the community.
Speaking to the National Post, one hereditary chief said that "they created a problem, because they refused to engage with the people as a nation, and ask them that vital question: ‘what kind of governance system do you want?'"
"The boys wanted to have the authority to make decisions for the entire nation without a proper governance structure in place ... they want to be the ultimate decision makers," they added.