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Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs are welcomed with a ceremonial greeting by Tyendinaga Mohawk members, in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory in eastern Ontario, on Feb. 21, 2020.

CHRIS HELGREN/Reuters

A people’s council meeting where members of the Mohawk community were expected to welcome the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and “discuss related political issues” began in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory in Eastern Ontario on Friday morning, with about a dozen people standing in a circle around a man with an eagle feather in his hair beating a drum.

A few minutes later, the group filed into the Mohawk Community Centre and shut the doors behind them. The parking lot at the hall, a large faded-green building with bold black letters on the exterior, was nearly full.

Several crockpots and chafing dishes were being delivered to the community centre. It is unclear exactly who is at the meeting, but it was confirmed that hereditary chiefs arrived in Tyendinaga last night and visited the camp on Wyman Road.

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In a video published by a protestor, the chiefs are shown signing their names and the words “Tyendinaga 2020” on the red snowplow that has been a fixture at the blockade. A news conference with the hereditary chiefs is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. on Friday.

Earlier Friday morning, two Wet’suwet’en supporters from Six Nations, who had travelled about four hours from near Caledonia, Ont., arrived at the Wyman Road blockade.

“I know that some Canadians are complaining about the inconvenience, but look at it this way: We’ve been inconvenienced for hundreds of years,” said Donna Silversmith, who carried a purple Iroquois Confederacy flag. Ms. Silversmith said she sees similarities between this struggle and the 2006 dispute between Six Nations and the Province of Ontario over a 40-acre tract of land in Caledonia.

“That’s a foreign occupier, right, and we are sovereign nations,” she said. “They should deal with us on a nation-to-nation basis.”

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