Gitxsan Chiefs' Demand vote in Kitselas, Kitsumkalum AIP
12 March 2013
For Immediate Release
Date: March 12, 2013
Contact: Beverly Clifton Percival, (250) 847-0603
Gitxsan land being given up by BC, Canada in Kitselas, Kitsumkalum land offer in Treaty AIPs; hereditary chiefs demand Gitxsan people be given a vote
Hazelton, BC. The Gitxsan Treaty Society have today written Canada and British Columbia to demand that Gitxsan people be allowed to vote on a proposed land settlement with the neighboring Kitselas and Kitsumkalum bands under terms of Treaty Agreements in Principle (AIP) with the federal and provincial governments.
Canada and BC are offering the two bands treaty settlement lands and rights that include areas within Gitxsan lax yip (territory).
Kitselas approved its AIP in a February vote. Kitsumkalum have not yet voted.
“The areas claimed by Kitselas and Kitsumkalum trespass our territory, as established unequivocally by the Supreme Court of Canada in the Delgamuukw case,” says Skyan (Anita Davis), Sigidimhanak. “These AIPs would affect our people, our rights, and our territory every much as they would affect the Kitselas and Kitsumkalum people. They are allowed to vote on the proposed settlement, and so should our people.
“This offer clearly violates our rights protected under section 35 of the Canadian constitution,” says Simogyat Tenimgyet (Art Mathews). “It also violates Gitxsan law--our ayook. This is a very serious matter for our people.
“BC committed itself to working with us and the Kitselas and Kitsumkalum to resolve this trespassing issue, but it has not carried through,” says Gwaans (Beverly Clifton Percival) Sigidimhanak, Negotiator.
“So we find ourselves today in a situation where this land offer has proceeded to a vote by one of our neighbours with the second to follow with its own vote. We are asking Canada and BC for the same right and opportunity.”
Attached are letters sent to Federal and Provincial Negotiators
Letter to Frank Osendarp, Chief Federal Negotiator - PDF
Letter to Robert Leece, Senior Provincial Negotiator - PDF