REPORTING · 5th December 2011
In an abrupt change to the affairs within the Gitxsan Nation the entire Treaty Office and Treaty Society has been terminated. After an emergency meeting of the Nations Hereditary Chiefs they attended the Offices and fired the negotiators, Elmer Derrick and Bev Clifton Percival and then terminated the Executive Director Gordon Sebastian.
The Chiefs marched to the Treaty Society Offices fired them all and then demanded their keys. They have initially refused to hand the keys over claiming they don’t work for the Hereditary Chiefs. After years of signing papers and claiming, even last Friday with Enbridge, to be working for the Hereditary Chiefs this was an interesting about face.
“The Gitxsan Treaty Society has caused division amongst the Gitxsan for years”, stated Norm Stephens who spoke to us on behalf of the Hereditary Chiefs, “I haven’t come across one Hereditary Chief that said they knew about it or that they approved it, everyone has been against the Enbridge agreement. They don’t want to deal with Enbridge, they don’t want to feel the embarrassment of this, they want to put it behind them.”
Now that the staff of the Treaty office has been terminated the true Hereditary Chiefs will be informing the Province on how referrals will be handled in the future. Various House groups and Clans have been sending letters to the Province for years instructing the Province the Treaty Office does not represent them. Since 2008 the Hereditary Chiefs along with Band Councils have been engaged in a lengthy legal struggle to remove Elmer Derrick, Bev Clifton Percival and Gordon Sebastion from their claims of representing the Gitxsan.
Even after all these actions the BC Government has continued to fund the Treaty office to the tune of $20 million. All of this the BC Government will claim is owed to them by the Gitxsan and the Hereditary Chiefs.
Today Sebastion, Percival and Derrick openly stated what everyone knew, they don’t work on behalf of the Hereditary Chiefs or the Gitxsan people. How the BC Government will attempt to recover this money, which was primarily used to divide the Gitxsan Nation, is anyone’s guess.