Gitxsan Unity Movement dispels rumours and untruths

The Gitxsan Unity Movement is addressing the numerous allegations, distortions and hypocritical statements.


Today the Gitxsan Unity Movement is addressing the numerous allegations, distortions and hypocritical statements, which are circulating and appear to be designed to deceive or delude supporters and efforts to rebuild unity and friendship within the Gitxsan Nation.

The Unity Movement began in early December after Elmer Derrick of the GTS (Gitxsan Treaty Society) held a surprise news conference with Janet Holder of Enbridge.

They announced to the world the Gitxsan people were supporting the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline.

This announcement occurred during the services for the passing of a Hereditary Chief, Elder and Matriarch, on December 2, 2011.

The GTS has caused confusion by operating as: the Gitxsan Treaty Society, Gitxsan Treaty Office (GTO), the Gimlitwitx, and the Gitxsan Hereditary Chiefs.

Currently the most serious allegation is regarding a threat to burn the building housing the GTS offices.

This is completely unfounded.

The Gitxsan Unity Movement is protecting the building and the contents from any threat including vandalism.

The continuous vigilant watch over the offices is now approaching 110 days and the watch has been maintained 24 hours a day.

It is in the interests of the Gitxsan Nation as a whole to ensure the offices are kept secure and intact.

If the BC Supreme Court continues to maintain the illegality of the GTS, which Judge McEwen stated in Smithers Court on January 11, 2012, the documents in the offices would be helpful to proceed with further charges against those who have continued with these unlawful activities.

The only persons who might benefit from a fire at the offices are those who wish to destroy the evidence of their wrong doing.

GTS representative, Bev Clifton Percival, issued a news release on March 9, 2012, which contained various false statements. The news release opened with the following;

“A BC Supreme Court judge has confirmed the Gitxsan Treaty Society (GTS) is a valid entity (and always was) and may attend to the necessary work of the GTS while he considers how to remedy a technical irregularity in the appointment of the society’s directors.

“During the hearing, the judge also expressed his view in clear terms that the blockade of the Chiefs’ office is illegal and told the protesters that they have no right to deny access to the office.”

Judge McEwen made no such statement and in fact reserved his decision. He told those attending he would attempt to reach a decision as quickly as possible, but offered no comments regarding his upcoming ruling on the matter of the legality of the GTS or the blockade.

The GTS news release also quotes Alice Jeffrey as stating, “through it all we have repeatedly invited them [the Gitxsan Unity Movement Members] to engage in a respectful dialogue to no avail.”

There has never been such an invite issued by the GTS and in fact the GTS has obstructed the Gitxsan Unity Movement members from attending their gatherings such as the two Gimlitxwit in Gitsegukla during January, 2012, and the two in Gitwangak during February, 2012.

It has been the Unity movement who have been consistently encouraging the GTS to attend gatherings to address the concerns of the Gitxsan Nation, which have been consistently rebuked.

The Gitxsan Unity movement is pleased the BC Provincial Government has taken a neutral position placing all negotiations with the GTS on hold as has the BC Ministry of Forests.

It is with some concern then that the Unity Movement has been informed the GTS transferred $500,000 from the Gitxsan Forest Enterprise Inc bank account into their own GTS accounts without the consent or approval of the Hereditary Chiefs.

Many more misdeeds have yet to be authenticated and the safety and security of the GTS office is critical to future investigations into the illegal and unethical operations of the GTS.

These include the concerns as to the whereabouts of and the disbursements of:

– The $13 million from the short term forestry agreement

– The $6.7 million recorded in the 2009 fiscal year financial report

We can report Staff Sgt Pelley of the New Hazelton RCMP has given us credit for the peaceful and respectful manner all of the participants at the protest camp have conducted themselves.

As of the date of this news release the sacred fire has been burning uninterrupted for 108 days.

We are committed to peace, accountability, and transparency and are concerned by reports that  Elmer Derrick is receiving death threats.

This is a very serious allegation and anyone hearing of such should report to the RCMP immediately.

The Gitxsan Unity Movement is a peaceful gathering attempting to unite all the Gitxsan people regardless of their personal position on these sensitive issues.

Threats and malicious statements to, or regarding, the Hereditary Chiefs are completely unacceptable, whether they are supportive of the GTS, the Gitxsan Unity Movement or the Spookw lawsuit against the GTS.

Today the Gitxsan Unity Movement has received the signatures of just under 90 Chiefs (52 Head Chiefs) in support of the actions we are taking on behalf of our people.

Our numbers are growing and our leadership is now calling for Gitxsan Guardians to step up and volunteer to protect the Gitxsan people and their interests, the land water and air, for the future generations.

The Gitxsan Unity Movement is 100 per cent volunteer driven.

We are committed to a future Gitxsan Government based in our culture and values which include accountability and transparency. We thank all of the people for their continued support and encouragement.

John Olson

Communications Co-ordinator

Gitxsan Unity Movement