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COMMENTARY · 31st October 2012
Merv Ritchie
In 2007 former Kitamaat Village Chief Councillor, Steve Wilson, personally delivered a letter to Gordon Campbell demanding their secret deal on hydro electric turbines be honoured. Read Report on Wilson's Secrect Deal Here

Today it appears as though the Kitsumkalum leadership is following the same lead, secrecy and private behind closed doors deals with no oversight.

This very same issue saw the Kitamaat Village Council sue the Hereditary Chiefs when they accused the Steve Wilson Council of Fraud. A Band Councillor openly admitted and apologized at a public meeting for the perceived fraudulent use of their highest Hereditary Chief, Chief Jassee (Tom Robinson) signature stamp.

Read about all the Haisla issues, the Trial and the accusations here

The Court action extended over three years and is still under appeal. A major part of the Court action included two secret hydro electric development proposals. During the trial Chief Councillor Wilson avoided answering direct questions about his personal ownership of these projects, yet finally had to admit, it was his name only on the ownership documents. It was exactly what the Hereditary Chiefs claimed. They exposed the truth and were sued for telling the truth. Sammy Robinson, Tom's brother supported the band Council and then, when his brother died during the trial, he took the high Haisla name improperly.

Last week, while discussing how none of the major potential power producing rivers were included in the proposed Kitsumkalum treaty settlement lands, a band member stated they had some secret deals they couldn’t talk about. He stated if it was revealed to the public, and further if other Indian Bands caught wind of it, the deal would be dead.

During a media scrum with Chief Negotiator Gerald Wesley we asked about this issue. He indicated he had heard the chief and council discussing the matter stating they were considering "other hydro electric development outside of treaty." He did not elaborate. Watch attached video clip of interview below.

Only the Zimacord River Watershed is included in the Treaty Settlement lands. None of the river systems north, including the Nelson River or even the Kitsumkalum River watershed are part of the lands being negotiated by the Treaty team. As the power line crosses each of these river systems, the potential for the Kitsumkalum Band to gain millions of dollars of revenue annually from the numerous potential run of river projects on their traditional territory, it seems foolhardy at best and complete incompetence at worst to neglect this opportunity.

Although the author has been at almost every Kitsumkalum Community meeting as a family member, none of the details recorded have been discussed in the Terrace Daily pages. It is a respectful acceptance of our commitment to not use information revealed by the Chief Councillor, his administration, staff and hired professionals as news stories. We have always maintained this professional position. And never, at any of these meetings have we heard anything regarding the potential of utilizing the hydroelectric power.

Only after this single band member (actually originally a Kitamaat Village Haisla person, not an employee or staff of Kalum) told us personally there were secret deals, did we become aware of it.

We were, during a break, complaining and arguing about the vast wealth available from the rivers, the proximity of the transmission lines and the neglect to include the watersheds in the Treaty that he revealed there were secret deals. This was when he revealed they couldn’t discuss it or else the entire secret deal could be called off.

This statement was very similar to a statement made regarding the approval of the Transmission grid through the Kitsumkalum Lands when we received a death threat.

It would appear as though the Kitsumkalum Indians are being used to ferment more dissension amongst the local Indian Nations of the Sacred Circle. Why would any local Indian Band accept any deal where the deal maker states, if you tell anyone else, the deals off? It sounds like an abuser of children telling the child; don’t tell anyone or else I won't give you anymore candy.

This entire affair needs to be brought to a Grand Council table of the Hereditary Chiefs of the Indian Nations of the Sacred Circle.

If the Kitsumkalum Band does not own the land the secret hydro electric plants are secretly proposed to be on, then who owns the land, who owns the plants, who owns the water licences?

The Kitsumkalum people should be outraged. Just like the Haisla Hereditary Chiefs who are obligated by the present court order to keep their mouths shut, a court order to keep them quiet about the injustice and the perceived fraud, the true Hereditary Chiefs of the Kitsumkalum Village of the Tsimshian Nation need to step forward and secure what is being secretly taken out of their control.

The worry about these potential power producing, money making ventures, being held privately, others making these secret deals to personally benefit at the expense of all the Kitsumkalum membership appears to have some precedence. We have just been made aware (yesterday) of a number of individuals who are accused of defrauding the Terrace Nisga'a Society of over a million dollars, some of who work directly in the treaty office. One actually has his signature on the Nisga'a Treaty itself!

Indians abusing Indians. The schooling learned in the residential schools, the teaching of the British ways to the new Indian leadership, appears to have been completely successful.
Kitsumkalum Treaty Secreacy
Comment by Me on 4th November 2012
To the Kitsumkalum Treaty Negotiation Team:

If you want my vote, then build our status into the plan. If that is not in the plan, then I'm going to vote against the Kitsumkalum Treaty. Don't let your hard work go down the drain. I know others feel this way too. Why give that away? Where there is a will there is a way. Having and maintaining status rights are very important. I hope that you will listen to this because it is important.
Kitsumkalum elections, 2013
Comment by Janice Robinson on 31st October 2012
Yes, it is that time again.

If I were to accept a successful nomination, for the position of chief councillor at Kitsumkalum, my platform would include:

- the suspension of treaty negotiations.

- providing Kitsumkalum treaty negotiators, and staff with lay-off notices.

- all council meetings will be openly scheduled, and community members will be respectfully welcomed.

- village finances will be reviewed and reported. A forensic audit will be engaged, if called for.

- a concerted effort will be engaged to facilitate respectful and cooperative relationships with ALL other Tsimshian villages.

- Tsimshian who reside off-reserve will be included and respected.

- best efforts will be engaged to restore national unity and strength.

- Health of the people and the Tsimshian Nation will be our priorities.

- all jobs will be posted, and the best person for the job will be hired.

- we would practice honesty in all our affairs.

- we would keep all that is good, and build on it.

- Kitsumkalum will be open for businesses that benefit all, and that do not wreak havoc on the environment, nor on future generations.

Comment by annoyed on 31st October 2012
why use of the word 'indians' when referring to first nations? maybe if the media made a concerted effort to stop using the term, it would spill over to the general public.

Ed Note: Please use your name when posting comments. The word Indian is accurate and appropriate. We have an Indian Act, which protects Indians. We have an Assembly of First Nations which protects the Federal and Provincial Governments from the rightful claims of Indians.

Indian is from Indigenous. Not some concept of Columbus attempting to get to India. It is what Queen Victoria used when she protected the Indian Land Rights and ownership with her Proclamation. Give up on the word Indian and one gives up their rights to the land.
Comment by John on 31st October 2012
There's a Grand Council of Hereditary Chiefs

Ed Note: If there isn't one, there should be. It is certainly time to stand together as one people. The divisions created by the Canadian and Federal governments along with industry, demands a united people.