First Nations in British Columbia issue eviction notice to fisheries, forestry operations on Gitxsan lax yip territory after Supreme Court rules activities require Gitxsan's consent; eviction affects all forest activities authorized by BC Timber Sales
GITXSAN TERRITORIES, British Columbia
July 10, 2014
– Simgiigyet'm Gitwangak and Gitsegukla have issued eviction notices today to all Sports Fisheries, Forest Industry and CN Rail to leave Gitxsan lax yip by August 4, 2014. This notice is pursuant to ayokim Gitxsan supported by the decision by the Supreme Court of Canada that the Crown must obtain consent and preserve the interests of the Gitxsan before carrying on any activities on Gitxsan lax yip, 33,000 sq km of territory in northwestern British Columbia.
This eviction notice affects all sports fisheries on the Skeena River and tributaries, all forest activities authorized by BC Timber Sales and FLNRO, and CN Rail. All are expected to vacate and cease activities on August 4, 2014 until both Crowns have obtained the required consent of the Gitxsan Hereditary Chiefs.
The Crowns have carried on what the Gitxsan Chiefs believe to be a fraudulent consultation process by FLNRO BC Timber Sales and have not implemented any consultations before permitting sports fisheries and transportation of goods by CN Rail. This is a huge trespass on Gitxsan lands by the Crown and makes futile any efforts by the BC LNG Team to develop any meaningful relationship or reconciliation with the Gitxsan Hereditary Chiefs.
Sagum Higookw, Vernon Smith states: "In line with our ayookw, the Supreme Court of Canada says repelling trespassers is a necessary element of our title."
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. "There is no legislative authority," says Negotiator Beverley Clifton Percival, "for these government bureaucrats to make determinations regarding Gitxsan strength of title and rights. Without the consent by the Gitxsan Hereditary Chiefs they are trespassers."
"The Crown has never been honourable in their engagement with the Gitksen since 1997," says Tenimgyet, Art Mathews, "Harvesters of trees and fish are now evicted."
SOURCE Gitxsan Treaty Society
For further information: Gwaans (Bev Clifton Percival), office (250) 842-6780, cell: (250) 847-0603