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IMMEDIATE PRESS RELEASE
December 2, 2011
... “The Gitxsan people are outraged with the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline Agreement”
Contrary to the announcement of Elmer Derrick of today’s date, the representatives of the Plaintiffs to the British Columbia Supreme Court Action No. 15150, cited as Spookw v. Gitxsan Treaty Society, oppose the Agreement. The Gitxsan plaintiffs include Hereditary Chiefs and four Gitxsan bands with a population of over 6,000 Gitxsan people; the majority of whom are House members in the Gitxsan traditional system represented by Hereditary Chief, Spookw, in the court action.
The representatives do not support Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline agreement entered into by Elmer Derrick and state “Elmer Derrick and the Gitxsan Treaty Society/Gitxsan Economic Development Corp. does not speak for all Gitxsan. The Gitxsan people had no knowledge of the proposed Agreement nor were they consulted”. The Plaintiffs contend that the Gitxsan Treaty Society, or the Gitxsan Development Corporation, does not have the authority to enter into such Agreements without consulting or being authorized by the Gitxsan people.
Knowledge of the signed Agreement was only obtained through media, much like the Gitxsan Alternative Governance Model of May 2008, the subject matter of litigation in Spookw v. Gitxsan Treaty Society.
The representatives say that not only were the communities not consulted, but importantly, the Environmental Review Process is not yet complete with community hearings being scheduled for January 2012; therefore, a decision to support it is, at best, premature. Until the Environmental assessment is complete there is no basis for saying this project is safe to build.
The Representatives say the 7 Million dollars is a pittance in comparison to the potential environmental impacts which will be catastrophic. The GTS/GED is willing to jeopardize the sustenance of the First Nations people for a few million dollars is reprehensible and is not supported by the Gitxsan people.
Mr. Derrick espouses the importance of Gitxsan Law; however, breached such law by announcing and celebrating the Agreement on the day of the funeral of an elder matriarch and Hereditary Chief. This type of conduct brings shame and is disrespectful to the grieving family and the traditional system.
The representatives say that Mr. Derrick has embarrassed and shamed the Gitxsan people by undermining the 61 First Nations who are opposed to the project. The representatives say “We stand in solidarity to those opposing it.”
Contacts for further information: Chief Councilor Marjorie McRae, Gitanmaax Indian Band at 250-847-0393 and/or Hereditary Chief Guuhadawk, Norman Stephens at 250-842-8197.