NEWS RELEASE · 12th June 2012
Spookw et al
The Spookw plaintiffs, including four Gitxsan Indian bands and many Chiefs and members, are pleased that a forensic audit of the Gitxsan Treaty Society is now underway. The audit being conducted by Aboriginal Affairs Canada is seen as vital to the Gitxsan people moving forward. Hereditary Chief Spookw states, `` over the years, going back to at least 2003 many people called for full financial reporting by the organization, `this audit is long overdue``.
The Spookw Plaintiffs started their court action against the Gitxsan Treaty Society in December 2008 due to concern that the organization was not conducting its affairs in an open and transparent manner, was not representing the interests of Gitxsan people and was acting in an oppressive manner towards those who questioned the way the society conducted its business. Trial of this action was scheduled for June 2012 however was placed in abeyance by Judge McEwan of the B.C. Supreme Court in March 2012 as he found that GTS had an illegal board of directors structure, was in contravention of the B.C. Society Act therefore did not have legal standing to appear in Court.
Chief McRae of the Gitanmaax Indian Band states, ``We anticipate the audit will shed light on past conduct of the organization however the future of the society remains in question.`` In March 2012, Judge McEwan refused to approve GTS`s proposal under section 85 of the Society Act to re-organize its illegal structures as GTS’ planned process did not permit the vast majority of Gitxsan people to participate in discussions and directed GTS to come up with a better, and fully inclusive model for participation. Chief McRae states, `we, the Spookw plaintiffs have notified GTS that we are prepared to participate in talks regarding the society`s future. GTS has not responded to our offer, however we will continue to engage in the section 85 process and with the Spookw action.