There will be no further discussions on any pipeline development on Gitxsan lands as long as the Crown continues its offers of Gitxsan lands and rights to the Kitselas and Kitsumkalum Indian Bands (Tsimshian), Gitxsan said in a statement.
This unanimous decision effective on June 21, 2014 by Gitxsan Hereditary Chiefs, with the support of 53 huwilp affects all natural gas projects on Gitxsan lax yip including those proposed by Prince Rupert Gas Transmission LTD (PRGT Project), Westcoast Connector Gas Transmission Ltd (Spectra Energy) and Pacific Northern Gas Ltd (PNGL).
“The parties, including the Province of BC and the Kitselas and Kitsumkalum Indian bands, with the exception of Canada have signed Agreements in Principle last spring of 2013 where the government offered lands taken from the Gitxsan lax yip. This is a huge trespass on Gitxsan lands by the Crown. These offers make futile any efforts by the BC LNG Team to develop any meaningful financial relationship or reconciliation with the Gitxsan Hereditary Chief,” the statement said. “The Crowns refuse to abide by the rulings of BC courts that the Gitxsan have strong prima facie rights and good prima facie title to these lands since contact in 1846. If consultation was done before these offers were made the Crown would not be in the mess they are in now.”
Sagum Higookxw, Vernon Smith responded to Canada’s offer of a mediation process by saying “We will not mediate our own lands. Our ayookw (Gitxsan law) is to protect them.”
“I have given evidence in court of my wilps adaakw and it was given evidentiary weight, where is the honour of the crown?” say Tenimgyet, Art Mathews. In response to what is now believed to be a fraudulent consultation process being conducted by both Crowns since September 2012.
“There is no legislative authority” says Negotiator Bev Clifton Percival “for these government negotiators to make determinations of Gitxsan rights and title or Strength of Claim that defies their own court rulings.”
Press Release, June 24, 2014; Image: Spectra Energy