In some spectacular court drama this week, a BC Supreme Court Judge is making indications the GTS (Gitxsan Treaty Society), an illegally operating organization, one listed as “Not In Good Standing” by the BC Corporate Registrar, may be able to effectively access their offices to continue their illegal activity. A vast majority of Gitxsan Chiefs have signed a declaration forbidding the GTS to continue their illegal activities as these activities are being conducted in their name. The illegal activity has indebted the Gitxsan Nation, should they be allowed to continue unabated, to the tune of 20 million dollars.
Tuesday, April 3, 2012, lawyers for the RCMP, GTS and the Spookw consortium of Gitxsan Chiefs and Band Councils each presented arguments. The RCMP struggled to remain neutral as the GTS lawyers argued the blockade of the office and the injunction, to remove the Chiefs and Gitxsan Unity Movement members, should be enforced. Those at the blockade referred to as the “Sacred Fire”, were not represented.
A search of the corporate file at the Registrar of Societies by the Terrace Daily on April 3, 2012, confirmed what the Judge previously ruled on March 27, 2012; the GTS is not operating legally.
The Chiefs and the Gitxsan Unity movement wish to maintain security of the offices to ensure the trail of the activity, illegal or otherwise, is not shredded or destroyed by the GTS if they regain access. They are concerned the debt, $20 million, which they suspect may have be misappropriated will be left for the Gitxsan Nation as a whole to absorb where it should be the sole responsibility of the GTS. The Spookw Plaintiffs have maintained in this court action, begun in 2008, the GTS does not represent the Gitxsan Nation and is illegitimate. Their foundation of the claim has been demonstrated in the recent hearing ruling of March 27. Read more details and the entire ruling by clicking here
Today the debate is how to ensure the documents are preserved. The GTS is arguing they only have to preserve the documents related to Enbridge and the papers relating to the original Spookw vs GTS lawsuit. Some Chiefs and some in the Unity Movement feel the entire office full of documents is required for an independent audit of the entire illegal GTS operation.
The Terrace Daily is in possession of an email sent regarding the GTS finances from a senior accounting firm in the Northwest, whereby they ordered the GTS to fire them "due to their screwy [accounting] practices”. Screenshot of email at end of this article.
If the GTS is allowed to regain access to their offices it would be prudent for them to destroy any and all evidence of these practices, if the email is of substantial validity. If the Judge orders the RCMP to enforce the injunction to remove the blockade the evidence regarding the $20 million debt, where the money went and the activities of the GTS may be lost.
As of the time of this posting there has been no reply from the Court or the Gitxsan Unity Movement on what the orders are and what their intentions are if the order is to remove the blockade.
Over ninety Gitxsan Chiefs have signed the declaration which reads as follows:DeclarationI, as a Gitxsan Simogyet on this day, December _ 2011, confirm the following:
I AGREE with the decisions of the Simgigyet taken at the December 5, 2011 meeting, that the Gitxsan Treaty Society (GTS) does not represent the Gitxsan people and is to be shut down for the following reasons:
Lack of consultation with the Gitxsan clans and communities: GTS staff members, specifically the Executive Director, Head Negotiator and Negotiator did not utilize the principle of free, prior, and informed consent in entering into the December 2, 2011 agreement with Enbridge Inc; specifically, GTS entered into the agreement without the knowledge or authorization of the Simgigyet.
GTS senior staff did not follow the Gitxsan ayookw (Gitxsan law practiced in the Wilp Li’ligit) in the agreement that he negotiated with Enbridge Inc. Therefore, the Gitxsan Clans have lost confidence in the ability of the Gitxsan Treaty Office and the Gitxsan Treaty Society to represent the best interests of the Gitxsan. Further, the agreement could do irreparable harm to: The ayookw; to Gitxsan solidarity with neighbouring First Nations who are fighting to stop the pipeline; human health; and, to the ecosystems and wildlife in the watersheds which the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline project is proposed to cross.I also confirm I agree with the following action:
1. Members of the Gitxsan Treaty Society Board of Directors representing my pdeek ( clan) have been recalled and have no authority to speak on behalf of my pdeek;
2. The Executive Director and Negotiators of GTS have been terminated; Other office Staff are to be given notices of indeterminate lay-offs.
3. Enbridge Corporation is to be notified that the Gitxsan Simgigyet are not party to the December 2, 2011 agreement and the agreement is therefore null and void;
4. British Columbia Treaty Commission, the Federal and Provincial Governments, and other third parties, be notified that GTS does not represent Gitxsan chiefs and has ceased operations;
5. An apology is to be extended to First Nations who will be impacted by the Endbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline project;
6. The Task Force be authorized to carry out any necessary actions, including but not limited to, engaging professional assistance, required to terminate the operations of GTS. The Task Force is to regularly report their progress to the Simgigyet, who will give further direction as required at duly called All Clan meetings.CHIEFS
Ms Roxanne Freezy
Reynold Jackie Williams
Rose Rita Morrison
Tony & Eugene Gawas