NEWS RELEASE · 8th May 2012
Gitxsan Unity Movement
OPEN LETTER TO GITXSAN PEOPLE AND CHIEFS:
Axtii Hiikw - Sam Derrick;
Djogaslee- Ted Mowatt;
Duubisxw - Bernadette Mclean;
Gaxsbgabaxs - Robert Harvey;
Gee! – Kathy Blackstock;
Gilla 'wa - Peter Turley;
Guxsan - Larry Marsden;
Gwagl'lo- Rod Sampare;
Gwiiyeehl -Brian Williams;
Hanamuxw- Don Ryan;
Lelt -Lloyd Ryan;
Ma'uus- Jeff Harris;
Miluulak - Alice Jeffrey;
Niis Noohi -Ray Jones;
Sakxum Higookw -Vernon Smith;
Simadiiks -Calvin Hyzims;
Tewelasxw -Anna Marcheldon;
Tenimgyet- Art Mathews;
Wii Elaast - Jim Angus;
Wii Hiengwax- Lance Williams;
Wii Minosik -Larry Skuish
Wii 'Mugulsxw-Art Wilson;
Woosim!axha - Victor Mowatt;
Gwoimtxw -Sadie Harris;
Xhliiyemlaxh- Ivan Sampson;
Xsgogimlaxha - Vernon Milton;
Yagosip -Joyce Turner;
Yal –Aubrey Jackson;
AND TO GITXSAN BAND COUNCILS OF GITANMAAX, GLEN VOWELL, KISPIOX, GITSEGUKLA AND GITWANGAK
RE: Those who stand up for Gitxsan rights threatened with imprisonment by GTS
Today, Gitxsan chiefs and Gitxsan people were served with the attached Application to Court by Gitxsan Treaty Society's lawyers that they will go to B.C. Supreme court in Smithers on May 14, 2012 to ask Judge McEwan to grant an Order to either fine Gitxsan chiefs and people in an amount up to $5,000.00 each; send us to prison for up to six months, or both fine and imprison us; because we are opposed to GTS continuing to do business after GTS was ordered closed and Gordon Sebastian, Elmer Derrick and Bev Clifton-Percival were terminated at the December 5, 2011 All Clans meeting.
GTS is also seeking an Order which will require the RCMP to enforce the injunction by arresting any individual who attempts to keep the GTS closed. To date, the RCMP has not taken steps to enforce the injunction to give opportunity to the Gitxsan to deal with this matter internally.
We have attempted to deal with GTS by engaging in a Hereditary Chiefs discussion. A number of Declaration Chiefs met with GTS chiefs, the most recent meeting held at Ksan on April 18, 2012, to discuss ways to resolve the conflict and protect information stored at GTS office and thereby hopefully bring an end to the standoff.
We believed we were making progress and that we could reach agreement on sharing the information and establishing separate administration offices to facilitate the final withdrawal from GTS.
Unfortunately it appears that GTS chiefs, apparently led by Gordon Sebastian, want to prevent GTS chiefs from continuing these discussions and a sworn affidavit of Gwagl'lo, Rod Sampare, who attended meetings with the Declaration Chiefs and who misrepresented the business conducted, is being used to support their Court Application. Unfortunately, Gwagl'lo did not provide a true and accurate statement of the business conducted at the meeting.
This is a very sad day for the Gitxsan nation: Chiefs and people who seek to have a provincially incorporated Non Profit Society made transparent and accountable to the Gitxsan are told to stop or you will be fined and imprisoned.
We call on the above named Hereditary Chiefs who we understand support GTS (a society which is not legally valid, and has no board of directors or members) to give direction to Gordon Sebastian, former Executive Director, to stop the court action to enforce an injunction against Gitxsan people.
We say it is wrong to act against the Simgigyet's instructions of December 5, 2011, and make decisions which harm Gitxsan people and culture.
We remain firm in our resolve that GTS does not and cannot represent us; Gordon Sebastian, Elmer Derrick and Bev Clifton-Percival have acted contrary to Gitxsan law; and have shown disregard and disrespect to Simgigyet who question and ask them to be accountable and release documents held in the GTS office.
This is wrong. What is so important to them? What do they have to protect? What are they afraid of? The answer to these questions is what is being traded for the integrity of the Gitxsan Culture.
The attack against the Gitxsan is not only limited to the Courts: Other Hereditary Chiefs who oppose the way GTS has conducted their affairs are also being attacked by GTS and Hereditary Chiefs who support that illegal provincial society; these Chiefs are told they are not chiefs and have no right to speak out. Others are being attacked by GTS supporters by attempting to wrongfully take a Simogyet's name or territories.
ALL OF THESE ACTIONS ARE CONTRARY TO GITXSAN CULTURE AND LAWS. GTS STAFF AND THE CHIEFS WHO SUPPORT THEM PLAN TO HAVE GITXSAN CHIEFS AND PEOPLE IMPRISONED FOR DISAGREEING WITH THEM: THIS MARKS A TURNING POINT IN OUR HISTORY.
We call on all Chiefs who signed Declarations stating GTS cannot represent them to remain strong. We must stand up to enforce our Gitxsan laws and protocols and basic human rights or the Gitxsan culture and traditions, as we know it, will be no more. The integrity of our culture will be gone. We must therefore work together to resolve this dispute in a peaceful manner.
We call on all Gitxsan people to urge the above named Hereditary Chiefs, who either support GTS or who have not made their position known, to stand up, and give instructions to stop the action to enforce the injunction against Gitxsan people; to stop using Gitxsan funds to attack Gitxsan people; and for the above named chiefs to agree to meet with the Declaration chiefs to discuss a peaceful resolution to this crisis as seeking to arrest and imprison those who recognize Gitxsan law and rights is harmful to all Gitxsan.
Delgamuukw (Earl Muldon) Guuhadak)Norm Stephens) Dawamuxw (Larry Patsey),
Hazelton Daily has attached below the notice of application filed with the court