FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 11, 2012
Gitxsan Hereditary Chiefs pleased with peaceful end to blockade
Hazelton BC – The Gitxsan Hereditary Chiefs are pleased the blockade of the Chiefs' office in Hazelton has come to a peaceful end. The Simgiigyet (chiefs) had been unable to access their building since December 2011.
“We are happy to see the R.C.M.P. was able to remove the blockade without incident, though we paid a six month penalty waiting for them to do so,“ says Gwaans (Bev Clifton Percival), “Throughout it all, we've also listened as unfounded financial allegations were thrown about by the blockaders. They've been demanding an audit of the books. Therefore, as an act of goodwill, we will be voluntarily submitting to an assessment of our books by independent federal auditors.”
The Chiefs' Office submits its books for auditing by the BC Treaty Commission and its own auditor every year. For the last five years the Office has employed Vandergaag and Bakker, chartered accountants in Smithers. These moves stem from a financial management plan enacted by the Simgiigyet in 2006 to ensure proper accountability and transparency.