Members of the Gitxsan Unity Movement remove plywood barriers at the Gitxsan Treaty Society office in Hazelton.

Members of the Gitxsan Unity Movement remove plywood barriers at the Gitxsan Treaty Society office in Hazelton.

Blockade at Hazelton GTS office brought down

After a long standoff between the Gitxsan Treaty Society and the Gitxsan Unity Movement, the blockade at the GTS office was removed.

After a months-long standoff between the Gitxsan Treaty Society and the Gitxsan Unity Movement, the blockade at the GTS office in Hazelton was removed last Monday.

Several RCMP from surrounding detachments arrived Monday morning to witness and keep the peace as boards were taken down, employees let back in the building and forensic auditors arrived shortly after 9 a.m.

The GUM states the audit was ordered through the Indian and Northern Affairs Canada Special Investigations office and was performed by two specialists.

According to GUM member John Olson, the decision to remove the blockade was made after collaboration with the RCMP and meets the need to have a professional audit completed.

“We’re happy to see the auditors here and support them and the RCMP, but we are also still here and we aren’t going anywhere,” Olson said.

“We’ve also agreed to let the staff enter the building to assist the auditors.

“Throughout it all we’ll be here and we will continue to be peaceful and present.”

As for the Gitxsan Treaty Society, they issued a press release last week stating they were the ones who agreed to an audit and they were “happy to see the RCMP was able to remove the blockade without incident, though we paid a six month penalty waiting for them to do so,“  Gwaans (Bev Clifton Percival) said.

“Throughout it all, we’ve also listened as unfounded financial allegations were thrown about by the blockaders.

“They’ve been demanding an audit of the books.

“Therefore, as an act of goodwill, we will be voluntarily submitting to an assessment of our books by independent federal auditors.”

She also stated the GTS submits their books every year adding they have used chartered accountants after a 2006 Simgiigwet that asked for proper “accountability and transparency.”

While things remain peaceful at the GTS office with employees and auditors coming and going, the RCMP monitoring from across the street and the GUM holding their camp off to the side, things still seem quite convoluted to judge by press releases issued by both parties.

The GTS allege that on June 4 the Chiefs agreed there was a “need for a meeting of all Gitxsan to discuss the issues and dispute within the Nation,” Clifton Percival said.

“The meeting time and place is still to be worked out for all parties.”

Olson also said that the GUM remain “open to and extends an invitation to the GTS Gimlitxwit to meet and settle unresolved issues pertaining to transparency and the return of authority and jurisdiction back to its rightful place, the Gitxsan Simgigyet and the Gitxsan Nation.”

While that potential meeting is still to be announced and the GTS doors are open again in Hazelton, Olson reiterated that the GUM isn’t going away and that he and other members will continue to monitor the building and stand up for what the believe in.

 

Just Posted

Comox Valley medical clinics are all open, including the availability to book face-to-face care (i.e. for a physical examination) as per your clinic’s protocol (most clinics operate a “virtual care first” policy). ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
Northern Health launches virtual primary care clinic

Northerners without a family physician or nurse practitioner will now have access to primary care

Demonstrators lined Hwy 16 May 5 to mark the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. (Deb Meissner photo)
VIDEO: Smithers gathering marks Red Dress Day honouring missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls

Approximately 70 people lined Hwy 16, drumming, singing and holding up placards

“Skeena,” by John Hudson and Paul Hanslow is one of five fonts in the running to become the default for Microsoft systems and Office programs. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Font named after Skeena River could become the next Microsoft default

One of the five new fonts will replace Calibri, which has been Microsoft’s default since 2007

The road to Telegraph Creek (Hwy 51) was closed April 15 due to a washout. On May 4, the road was opened to light-duty passenger vehicles during specific times. (BC Transportation and Infrastructure/Facebook)
Telegraph Creek Road opens for light-duty vehicles

Road has been closed since April 15 due to a washout

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

Bradley Priestap in an undated photo provided to the media some time in 2012 by the London Police Service.
Serial sex-offender acquitted of duct tape possession in B.C. provincial court

Ontario sex offender on long-term supervision order was found with one of many ‘rape kit’ items

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Rich Coleman, who was responsible for the gaming file off and on from 2001 to 2013, was recalled after his initial testimony to the Cullen Commission last month. (Screenshot)
Coleman questioned over $460K transaction at River Rock during B.C. casinos inquiry

The longtime former Langley MLA was asked about 2011 interview on BC Almanac program

Steven Shearer, <em>Untitled. </em>(Dennis Ha/Courtesy of Steven Shearer)
Vancouver photographer’s billboards taken down after complaints about being ‘disturbing’

‘Context is everything’ when it comes to understanding these images, says visual art professor Catherine Heard

Trina Hunt's remains were found in the Hope area on March 29. Her family is asking the public to think back to the weekend prior to when she went missing. (Photo courtesy of IHIT.)
Cousin of missing woman found in Hope says she won’t have closure until death is solved

Trina Hunt’s family urges Hope residents to check dashcam, photos to help find her killer

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Restrictions will lift once 75% of Canadians get 1 shot and 20% are fully immunized, feds say

Federal health officials are laying out their vision of what life could look like after most Canadians are vaccinated against COVID-19

Police are at Ecole Mount Prevost Elementary but the students have been evacuated. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Gardener finds buried explosives, sparking evacuation of Cowichan school

Students removed from school in an ‘abundance of caution’

Most Read