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Issue Papers

30 November 2009

ISSUE - What are the Gitxsan Rights and Title?
33,000 Sq km (lax yip)
To refresh your memory; the Gitxsan are an organized society with four clans; the frog, the wolf, the fireweed and Lax Skiik.The core unit is the wilp which is connected to specified tracts of land, the lax yip - loaded with wealth. This land tenure system is the basis for aboriginal rights and title as we have been recognized as an organized society since before 1846.
Those of you that pay into feasts help guarantee the "continued" existence of the ancient Gitxsan land tenure system. Your Simogyat is the decision maker for this land tenure as a result of paying top money into the feasting system. When you contribute money and food to a feast you support your Simogyat as a decision maker.As a result, our rights and title are re-affirmed every time we have a feast!
How you benefit from your lax yip:
You are entitled as a result of: (a) being born from the womb of a Gitxsan mother; (b) regular participation in the feasts of your clan and wilp; (c) upholding your name from Kubawilsa up to Simogyat, and (d) those of us with privileged adoption into a willp - no one is left out
There are many projects that are benefiting the following:
(I) individual house groups (wilp),
a) Logging on cut blocks, silviculture, mining exploration, Sedan Creek Hydra, etc.
(2) individual watersheds (huwilp)
a) Kemess Mines, Suskwa Cogen ($ 155 million), Kispiox Forest Products(mill), Gitsegukla Pilot, Suskwa Sustainability project ($ I million), Enbridge project, Gitwangak (BC Hydra)
(3) the whole Gitxsan territory:
a) Forest Licenses (GFEI, BCTS), Northwest Transmission Line ($600 million), Stewart Omineca Resources Road (Thudade Lake to Stewart) and sea ports.
Your Simgiigyet are doing the best they can to ensure you benefit from your territory.There are-many of you working for your Simogyat now, you must feel so proud —your participation in the work farce sustains your personal rights in the feast hall and the la yip.

For purposes of a definitive relationship with government and corporations, and for greater economic development and employment for us, the hereditary chiefs have divided the 33,000 sq. km into nine watersheds - economic units.The chiefs have developed economic plans for our watersheds based on policies (forestry; fishery, water, wildlife, carbon credits,) for the whole territory.
Next Week: "What is the tax issue? Do we pay taxes?"