Read this story from the Vancouver Sun on the controversial paid appointment by the Harper Government of Elmer Derrick - the former Gitxsan treaty negotiator who was fired for cutting an unauthorized deal with Enbridge behind his nation's back - to the board of the Prince Rupert Port Authority. (April 20, 2012)
The northern B.C. first nation chief who signed a controversial deal to support Enbridge's $5.5-billion oil pipe-line has been appointed by the federal government to the Prince Rupert Port Authority.
As a director of the board, Gitxsan hereditary chief Elmer Derrick will receive payment, although it is not clear exactly how much.
"It's a strange appointment. It raises the possibility it's a quid pro quo for supporting the pipeline," said NDP Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen, whose riding includes a large stretch of the Northern Gateway pipeline route.
Cullen noted that Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government is a supporter of the pipeline, meant to open up new markets in Asia for crude from the Alberta oilsands.
When Derrick, who is the chief negotiator with the Gitxsan Treaty Office, announced he had signed a pipe-line ownership deal with Enbridge that would provide $7 million over a 30-year period, it sparked an immediate battle with other leaders in the community who said they don't sup-port the project.
In the face of the opposition to the deal from dozens of Gitxsan hereditary chiefs, Enbridge pulled out of the ownership agreement.
In the wake of the bogus deal Enbridge attempted to foist on the Gitxsan people of Northwest BC last month to help pave the way for its controversial proposed Northern Gateway pipeline, the community has banded together in inspiring fashion - with camcorders and the Web as their weapons of choice. The Enbridge resistance has given birth to a new website, youtube and facebook pages and twitter feed which thoroughly document the opinions of elected and hereditary chiefs and citizens, community gatherings, and interactions with the RCMP and ousted treaty negotiators who sparked the crisis by signing the since-invalidated agreement with Enbridge.
Gitxsan Unity Movement Press Release Gitanmaax, B.C. December 19th, 2011 Majority of Gitxsan Chiefs Confirm Shut Down of the Gitxsan Treaty Society (GTS)
The majority of Gitxsan Hereditary Chiefs have put into writing their decision to shut down the Gitxsan Treaty Society (GTS). The Chiefs are supported by their houses and clans, and made this decision only after holding clan meetings. The decision to shut down the GTS and fire senior staff was made because the GTS was making decisions without consultation and against the will of Gitxsan houses and clans.
The society was shut down on December 5th after chiefs consulted with their clan members. Presently, 42 Gitxsan Hereditary Chiefs (two thirds of the Hereditary Chiefs) have signed a declaration stating the following:
The Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline Agreement is null and void;
The GTS no longer exists so it must cease operations and be shut down;
The former Executive Director, and former Chief Negotiator and Negotiator are terminated;
That all other staff be given notices of indeterminate lay-off;
and, all Pdeek representatives (GTS board members) are recalled.
The Gitxsan Chiefs are conducting an online poll to determine support levels in Gitxsan membership for the deal with Enbridge. Preliminary results show that over 90% of Gitxsan are against the proposed pipeline. Almost 100% are against the Gitxsan-Enbridge deal that was done on December 2nd.
A petition is underway too. Volunteers collecting Gitxsan petitions against Enbridge have collected over 1,000 signatures (600 Gitxsan; 400 supporters) and phone numbers since December 6th.
Gitxsan Hereditary Chiefs note that the fired staff of the GTS continues to speak publicly and act against the wishes of the Gitxsan Chiefs and members. These staff members are the Executive Director, Negotiator, and Chief Negotiator. The Gitxsan Chiefs emphasize that the Gitxsan Treaty Society and these former staff members do not represent the Gitxsan people.
Former staff who continue to operate and spend money from GTS accounts, will cease their activity and respect the will of the Chiefs and members. Their actions include paying high-priced lawyers from GTS funds to sue their own Chiefs and members. This is further evidence of the complete lack of respect this office has towards the Gitxsan Hereditary Chiefs who they claim to represent. The Gitxsan seek to settle this matter through their own law, the Gitxsan Ayookw, and wish to point out that remedies exist in Gitxsan law for those who bring harm upon the nation. Therefore, in this matter, the Gitxsan Hereditary Chiefs have exercised the Gitxsan Ayookw, the foundation of Gitxsan society and culture for millennia.
The Gitxsan Unity Movement began as Gitxsan Against Enbridge in early December. The goal of the movement is to bring harmony between the Gitxsan government and the values, law, and will of the Gitxsan. The Chiefs shut down the GTS on December 5th because they were acting contrary to Gitxsan law and values. The Gitxsan Unity movement is 100% volunteer driven, with Gitxsan Hereditary Chiefs and members working in the best interest of our land, culture, and people.
Read this report from The Vancouver Sun, claiming that the RCMP have no intention of acting on a recent court order to remove the blockade from the Gitxsan Treaty Office in Hazelton, BC. The blockade was established by community leaders and citizens in the wake of the now-disputed deal signed by former treaty negotiator Elmer Derrick with Enbridge.
The RCMP say they don’t intend to act on a court injunction that
allows them to remove a blockade of the Gitxsan Treaty Office in
“We remain impartial in this protest and are hopeful
for a peaceful resolution between the GTS [Gitxsan Treaty Society] and
its members,” said RCMP spokesman Cpl. Dan Moskaluk.
leaders opposed to an ownership deal inked with Enbridge on the
controversial $5.5-billion Northern Gateway oil pipeline say they have
fired negotiators of the treaty office.
Last week the opponents boarded up the office and began guarding the building in shifts.
said there is no set time frame in the injunction that requires the
blockade to come down, but added the New Hazelton RCMP are monitoring
the situation very closely.
“The injunction states that arrest or removal is at the discretion of the police, “ Moskaluk said in an e-mail today.
Norman Stephens, a hereditary chief who is opposed to the Enbridge deal, said today they will continue to blockade the office.
Damien Gillis and Stewart Richardson of CJSF 90.1 FM discuss the intense activity around the proposed Enbridge pipeline of late - including the recent controversy among the Gitxsan community on Northwest BC, centering on a now-disputed deal signed by one of their treaty negotiators and the company last week. Damien summarizes the political machinations of the Harper Government in pushing for expanded Tar Sands bitumen traffic through BC against the will of a growing coalition of First Nations, conservation groups and citizens around the province. (November 9; 30 min)
Read this report from The Terrace Standard suggesting a court order may have been obtained to remove the hereditary and elected leaders of the Gitxsan First Nation who recently reclaimed their treaty office in Hazelton, BC from the treaty team that negotiated a now-unraveling deal with Enbridge last week.
THERE ARE reports this morning that a BC Supreme Court order has been obtained to stop trespassing at and blocking access to the Gitxsan Treaty Society office in Hazelton.
Gitxsan unhappy with the society's signing of an economic benefits agreement with Enbridge stemming from its Northern Gateway oil pipeline have been at the office for several days now.
“The order was obtained by [the Gitxsan Treaty Society] without notice to anyone, after they appeared before Justice Davies in Vancouver,” reads a release from hereditary chiefs unhappy with the Enbridge deal.
It says police officers are “authorized to arrest anyone blocking access to the [treaty society] premises.” (Dec. 8, 2011)
While news emerges that a court order may have been obtained to remove Gitxsan leaders and community members who took over the Treaty office in Hazelton earlier this week - in response to a deal made with Enbridge by treaty negotiator Elmer Derrick without the knowledge or approval of the community - a new video demonstrates how the Gitxsan are banding together in this moment of crisis. The situation is summed up eloquently by one of the community matriarchs shown in the video, produced by Ardea Films:
"Today is a new beginning. Today is the day the healing will begin. Our hearts have been broken, our families have been divided. Today, we'll begin to talk, we'll begin to love; we'll begin to share and honour one another once again. So I put this out to all of us as Gitxsan people: We must stay strong, as the whole country - particularly our aboriginal neighbours - are disappointed with us ...But we must stay strong. We must stay proud."
Watch this video from Global TV today on the ongoing controversy over the now-disputed Gitxsan First Nation deal with Enbridge. Note how Enbridge carefully videotaped the whole process, then provided it to media - complete with b-roll footage of pipeline construction jobs. The majority of the footage in this Global segment derives from a corporate press kit from Enbridge. (Dec. 6, 2011)
Read this story from The Globe and Mail on the swift and strong reaction by Gitxsan hereditary chiefs following Friday's unauthorized deal with Enbridge, signed by the nation's lead treaty negotiator, Elmer Derrick.
"Gitxsan hereditary chiefs on Monday called for the resignations of negotiators involved in a controversial pact with Enbridge. After
emergency meetings over the weekend, a group of hereditary chiefs
marched on the offices of the Gitxsan Treaty Society on Monday to demand
the immediate resignation of three of the society’s employees. Those
employees include Elmer Derrick, a Gitxsan Treaty Society negotiator and
a hereditary chief who on Friday announced a deal with Enbridge to
support the Northern Gateway project.
'We put on our regalia and walked to the Gitxsan Treaty Society and
informed them that their services were no longer needed,' Norman
Stephens, who is part of a group of hereditary chiefs speaking out
against the Enbridge agreement, said Monday in a telephone interview. The
employees refused to leave, saying that the society’s board of
directors – not the hereditary chiefs – governed the society, according
to Mr. Stephens. That resulted in a subsequent resolution by the
chiefs that the society directors could no longer sign or act on behalf
of the Gitxsan clans, Mr. Stephens said.
A call to the Gitxsan Treaty Office was not immediately returned." (December 5, 2011)
GITXSAN CHIEFS SAY “NO” TO ENBRIDGE - PRESS RELEASE FROM HEREDITARY CHIEFS LARRY PATSEY AND NORMAN STEPHENS
Gitxsan Territories, B.C. – On Sunday, December 4th, 2011, 3 of the Gitxsan
Clans held separate meetings in 3 locations to voice their concerns and
consider their future action in regards to the announcement of the
signing of an agreement between the Gitxsan and Enbridge.
Gitxsan people were unaware of the undertakings with Enbridge. The Gitxsan people through Simogyet Delgamuukw say, “NO to the Enbridge Pipeline Project”. Numerous concerns from the meetings were brought forward to an emergency Gitxsan Treaty Society Board meeting held on Sunday afternoon, December 4th, to have the Gitxsan voices transferred into action.
On Sunday evening, an All Clans meeting was held to discuss the unified direction of the Gitxsan. Simogyet Delgamuukw was selected to be the spokesperson for the Gitxsan. TheSimgigyet (Gitxsan Chiefs) stated: “We have traditional protocols in place that dictate the actions of the Gitxsan people when making important decisions that will impact the whole Gitxsan Nation and/or neighbouring Nations. These protocols were not followed by the Gitxsan Treaty Society negotiators.”
action has been taken to deal with the people responsible for
negotiating and signing the agreement with Enbridge. The press release
of December 2nd, 2011 was not sanctioned by the Gitxsan.
All government agencies and other related business contacts are put on
notice with this press release that our 2 negotiators and our Executive
Director no longer represent the Gitxsan at any level.
Gitxsan leaders are expected to consult and cooperate in good faith with the Gitxsan people’s
through our own representative institutions in order to obtain free,
prior, and informed consent before adopting or implementing legislative
or administrative measures that may affect them.
will honour all of our agreements with our surrounding First Nations
neighbours to protect our traditional lands, and also to support them
with their protection of their homelands.
We apologize to our neighbours and to our Gitxsan membership throughout the country for the December 2nd press release. It was not released by the Gitxsan nation.
This is a turning point in our Gitxsan history. The Enbridge Pipeline holds no future for our children.