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Roger Harris at the official opening of the Terrace Enbridge office, now closed
COMMENTARY · 14th February 2012
Merv Ritchie
Minutes after the lone guy, Gitxsan Nation member Elmer Derrick, signed an agreement expressing support for Enbridge, who former BC Liberal MLA and Enbridge promoter, Roger Harris, first connived into signing an initial agreement with Enbridge, the Mainstream Media went into a frenzy with every station, every TV outlet, newspaper and website screaming headlines how the Gitxsan Nation supported Enbridge. Days later when he was drummed out of his office, fired along with all his other co-conspirators, nothing was said. A few weeks later when a Judge declared the Society Derrick was using to promote Enbridge illegal, again nothing.

Today, more than 12 hours later, when most major news outlets are apparently ready willing and able to talk about Pandas in China, sales of oil and agreements to beat the band, the world is silent on the Terrace City Council voting to protect the environment over accepting money, proudly saying “No” to Enbridge.

It’s a strange day in Hell today.

Roger Harris is now the Chief Negotiator for the Kitsumkalum Band. He gets around.

In January, 2012, his previous work with the Gitxsan resulted in the Nation coming apart in tatters of dis-harmony.

The Liberal Party efforts within the Haisla Nation in 2007 had, and still has today, their people infighting with the Court case between the Hereditary Chiefs and the Band Council, which is still before the BC Court system over rights and jurisdiction.

Is Harris the Chief effluent agitator? Is he instrumental in creating disharmony amongst the various First Nations peoples?

I was on the receiving end of a phone call yesterday from a man who received a brand new home this past year from the Kitsumkalum Band. He was arguing how if the details of a deal leaked out to other First Nations they would argue about the benefits and then the deal would be cancelled. He was arguing to keep quiet and don’t ask about the details, just trust the Band council he demanded.

Just trust the Band Council who has Harris as their negotiator? The man who did work for the illegally operating society that fractured the entire Gitxsan Nation? Is this the plan of the BC Liberal Party, divide all the First Nations people up, within house groups, within Villages, within territories and within Nations, so Enbridge and all others can come in completely unopposed, as Harris has them all infighting?

The media does not cover these issues. Is it to demonstrate to the Native peoples of BC that they are on their own, that only pro –white, or pro-British colonial systems will be supported and reported about? Are the native elected Chiefs that blind that they cannot see they are being used as dupes for the internationalists who care not a wit about them and the environment? Are they not able to put two and two together? Does DeBeers and Attawapiskat not ring any bells? Does the poverty of the past 100 years mean nothing? Do they really believe the right wing white man has changed?

Watch the local surrounding First nations Communities to Terrace. Terrace Mayor Pernarowski made a rather interesting statement last night after he acknowledged the vote was going to be to oppose Enbridge.

"I'm going to have a hard time, when the time comes, to stand in difference to what our First Nations communities are saying in this region."

Does Pernarowski have foreknowledge the Kitselas and Kitsumkalum have already determined to support the project?

Chris Knight, from North Saanich BC (near Victoria) is the Policy Advisor for the Kitselas Band. He told us at the JRP they were neither opposed to or for the project; the Kitselas do not have enough information to make a determination either way he said. Harris, an Enbridge promoter, is the Negotiator for the Kitsumkalum. These are the two nations "in this region" as Pernarowski suggested. Have these two already agreed? Are these two of the twenty Enbridge is claiming have already signed.

To be fair to Chief Roberts of the Kitsumkalum, he did address the JRP in Terrace and express his concerns and opposition to the project. However, his presentation was one of the only ones where any JRP Panel member asked a question of a presenter. They asked Roberts about how much money was involved in his fishing fleet.

But as the man who called my home last night stated, don't ask questions, or else the deals off. One person who had been asking questions in public, and by written letters, was called a dissident and a terrorist by an employee of the Band at a recent meeting.

Terrace City Council took the high road; determining that some things are worth more than money. First Nations communities are being played family against family, clan against clan, and if the Conservatives, Liberals and Harris gets their way, there will be no one left to defend anyone’s home territory. They will all be too busy blaming each other to notice there is nothing left to fight over.

This is a travesty.

Enbridge promoters and Media spokesman Paul Stanway (left) stand at doorway during Smithers JRP while the Wet'suwet'en Nation expressed complete opposition.
Enbridge promoters and Media spokesman Paul Stanway (left) stand at doorway during Smithers JRP while the Wet'suwet'en Nation expressed complete opposition.
The initial agreement with an illegally operating society, which has divided the Gitxsan Nation
The initial agreement with an illegally operating society, which has divided the Gitxsan Nation
Dear "Northcoast" and "Ayook."
Comment by Janice Robinson on 17th February 2012
As much as we delight in hearing Kitsumkalum robin stories, it is important to remember that the Tsimshian Nation is a four-crest society: Eagles, Ravens, Killer Whales and Wolves. Period.

What do your robin stories have to do with this Enbridge fiasco? Our nation and territory have been betrayed by Roger Harris and his Indian politicial colleagues! Let us talk about, and disclose those facts.
Ayook.
Comment by Janice Robinson on 16th February 2012
During the great flood, Gitxon's house (at Kitsumkalum) became dislodged from from the riverbank, and floated down the Skeena River until it came to rest at what is known today as SPOKESHUTE (Port Essington), B.C.

The chunk of land across from today's village also gave way, and found itself in the middle of the river. The lot were Chief Don Roberts built his house is actually part of our graveyard.

Waap Gitxon (Eagle) had a physical "big house" at Spokeshute until my Mother and her siblings were forced out of the village by the D.I.A. in 1937. The void left by our family was gleefully filled by another family whose only strength was their numbers. Mom (Sim Maguul) returned us all to Kitsumkalum in 1990 through Bill C-31...much to the chagrin of today's village administration.

Whii Nea ach is my name. I am an hereditary Chief Matriarch from Waap Gitxon. Tsimshian Eagle. Kitsumkalum, B.C. I am not recognized as such by the treaty office, however I am who I am. I was born, raised and educated in our territory.

Thankyou for sharing with me and our neighbours. God's blessings on you and your family.
metaphorically speaking
Comment by adolan on 15th February 2012
Interesting article.
So, does this make Roger Harris the modern-day equivalent of the smallpox infested blanket?
Shame on him.

BTW, the story of Terrace City Council's vote to officially oppose Enbridge's Norhtern Gateway project was reported throughtout the day on CBC radio news today.
yuckk
Comment by Apocalypse Now on 15th February 2012
Doesn't surprise me one bit that someone who worked for and supported Gordon Campbell would be involved in something like this. the liberals have always been good at pulling the wool over peoples eyes. There is a reason he was voted out .
Bill re: Roger
Comment by Karen on 15th February 2012
Yes, Bill, Roger does come across as a very nice person - maybe that is why Enbridge has acquired his services. But, if he is oozing his way through First Nations communities trying to make secret deals knowing it will cause disent within these communities he deserves to be put in front of the media bus.

amazing research! =D
Comment by ernie wilson on 14th February 2012
you are definitely not a corporate shill reporter =D
there has been more than a few folks like elmer derrick along with roger harris that have too many links to internal division & government/corporate backgrounds caused within native bands/nations, its also funny how these types seem to be infecting only the native bands with unsettled land claims and/or sitting on vast natural resources...

thank you for a refreshingly truthful, well researched & well thought through article man. if you read the major papers articles you might as well be reading a corporate press release word for word or a government press release from the ministry of truth LOL.
Is it 'pick on Roger Harris ' day today?
Comment by bill braam on 14th February 2012
Good Grief, sounds like Roger Harris is on the hit list today. Perhaps it goes unnoticed that Mr Harris works on short term contractual jobs and when the term is up he continues to look for other work. Just because he did a term of work for Enbridge does not mean he is endeared to them. The Mr. Harris I know is a very honest hardworking individual and not deserving of the negative comments expressed here. Thank you.
Two words
Comment by blocky bear on 14th February 2012
Unabashed slime!
blankets & beads tactics
Comment by Concerned on 14th February 2012
It is clear Enbridge is engaging in the age-old 'blankets & beads' and 'divide & conquer' tactics of the past, with the Aboriginal peoples Lands & Resources in BC. We urge Aboriginal people not to 'sell-out', but to pursue the resolution of your land & resource issues with Gov'ts. Without that, no one should sign onto any deal that may serve to compromise you.
What part of 'NO!' does Enbridge not understand? Enbridge is 'Not Welcome' in the North West and on the North Coast of BC.
Now you know...
Comment by Janice Robinson on 14th February 2012
The truth hurts. Roger Harris is one of those defeated politicians I speak about who sell their mouths to the highest bidder. And yes, he has been a regular at Kitsumkalum political meetings since his defeat to Robin Austin. Roger has an invisible "Roberts' family talking stick." I wonder about Mr. Austin's silence over the years . Hello?!

It is important to know, and say, that neither Kitselas nor Kitsumkalum are nations. They are mere villages of the Tsimshian Nation, and their chiefs and councils do not speak on behalf of the nation....at all.

Granted, Don Roberts spoke against the proposed pipeline last month, but he had NO choice in the matter that day. Chief councillors are basically employees of the federal government who fancy themselves glorified chiefs. They are NOT. We all know who the hereditary chiefs are...who will eventually have the final say about where we stand on this and other matters (no Tsimshian hereditary chief would consider putting pen to treaty paper).

Just wait. As further truths about backroom shenanigans come to light, some will feel to either weep or vomit. Elmer Derrick has many "friends," and their emails are probably bouncing all over the place right now!
unhappy people
Comment by traditionalsmokesignals on 14th February 2012
They don't look too happy in that picture as they stand watching a province stand in the way of their efforts in pushing through an unwanted pipeline. A picture does say a thousand words ;)
I'm beginning to wonder...
Comment by Helmut Giesbrecht on 14th February 2012
...if the JRP is really nothing more than a farce to give the impression of consultation with the public and the fix is in and was since the beginning. It would be better to start thinking about what people can/will do when that becomes crystal clear to all.