NEWS RELEASE · 27th April 2012
All across the Northwest of British Columbia, many of our First Nations are in the same predicament. Our Nations are becoming divided. The people of Kitsumkalum have shared with us, so have the Wet'suwet'en, the Haisla and the Tahltan.
The Governments of Canada and British Columbia have empowered individuals within our Nations to negotiate treaty on behalf of their respected people. Not only are these individuals empowered to negotiate treaty, some have taken it upon themselves to negotiate with corporations such as Enbridge, BC Hydro, Fortune Minerals and so on.... Is this Treaty negotiation?
In all of the above mentioned First Nations, there is one thing in common. The people do not know what is going on behind the closed door of the negotiators.
When it is questioned, the people are silenced through threats of banishment and lawsuits. Public ridicule is another angle that the supporters of treaty use to silence those who ask questions. In one instance the threat of violence went so far to the person being threatened to be shot!
Amongst our own people, the Gitxsan, a very respectable Chief was thrown down and handcuffed in a Chiefs meeting, then dragged out by the RCMP, in front of her peers. Only two elderly ladies, one a Chief, stood up in defence of the Matriarch and Simoogyet.
This article is not written to continue the smear campaign with the Gitxsan Treaty Society. It is written to wake up a Nation and call upon the leaders of the Gitxsan to stand up for the people that you represent. Yes, there are those Simoogyets who are taking a stand.
The Gitxsan Unity Movement has amongst them Simmogyets who are standing up to the GTS regime. Gyolugyet, Dawamuukw, Gwininitxw, Delgumuukxw and Guuhadakw. The Gitxsan Nation should all be proud of these High Chiefs, for they are standing up for the people! Special mention to Spookw and their litigation team, who are also working to settle the Gitxsan Crises.
Gitxsan Unity Movement has been working hard to gather all of the "true" Gimlitxwit, the head Chiefs of the Gitxsan Nation. They have had one meeting so far and we pay special mention to those Chiefs who sit on the GTS Gimlitxwit for attending our meeting. It is a start. At this meeting there was talk of how the Gitxsan Crises could be put to rest. The desire is to settle this excruciating situation where the people themselves would come out on top and Unity will again be present within all the house groups and the feast hall.
It is a step in the right direction, there is work to be done and we have full faith in our Simgigyet and encourage all the head Chiefs from all three sides to meet.
Within these talks the injunction facing the Gitxsan Unity Movement for securing the Chiefs building and it's possessions was brought up. It is no secret that the former Gitxsan Treaty Society staff are pressuring the courts and the RCMP to enforce an injunction set against the Gitxsan Unity Movement. GUM requested to lift the injunction and allow the High Chiefs to resolve the differences. The GTS refuses to lift the injunction and prefer to go through the courts to continue business as usual.
Why is it so hard to be held accountable to the very people they are claiming to represent? Why can they not allow the Hereditary Chiefs resolve the crises? Many have stepped up and taken ownership of being a part of this problem. Now they want to fix it. The courts are not the place the Gitxsan conduct business.
Gordon Sebastian, Elmer Derrick, Bev Percival, Jim Angus and Art Wilson, many times you have gone on record claiming the Gitxsan conduct business in the feast hall. As staff, you must step aside and allow the true Gimlitxwit to carry out their responsibilities. If you respect the very system you claim you do, then you will allow the Chiefs to unify our Nation. Why spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, Gitxsan dollars, on the court system?
It is common sense to resolve this crisis without conflict. The Gitxsan Unity Movement is under strict order to carry out this blockade/protest respectfully and non confrontational. We have been nothing but respectful. I have watched the GUM Chiefs be publicly scorned by a facts document handed out at the GTS Gimlitxwit meeting in Gitwangak. There was even suggestion of banishment! This is the highest disrespect a Gitxsan person can show a Simoogyet.
Are we a Nation living in shame; one that shows disrespect to our people and our neighbours?
Gitxsan Simgigyet.... it is time to meet and end the Gitxsan Crises! The people are counting on you! Do you see what the governments are doing to our Nation?
On another note, it was brought to our attention that one of the GTS negotiators had their tires slashed on their vehicle. The Gitxsan Unity Movement takes this very serious; this is putting people's lives in danger. We encourage whoever is doing this to stop. If anyone has any information as to who has done this, please contact the RCMP.
The Gitxsan Unity Movement began as Gitxsan Against Enbridge in early December 2011. The goal of the movement is to bring harmony between the Gitxsan Government and the values, law and will of the Gitxsan.
We strive for accountability, transparency and to return the authority and jurisdiction to its rightful place, the Gitxsan Simgigyet and the Gitxsan Nation.