On July 26, the Nisga’a Lisims Government gave a Gitanyow traditional house group 24-hour notice to vacate a fishing site by the Nass River. (NLG Press Release Photo)

Union of BC Indian Chiefs support Gitanyow in territorial dispute

Nisga’a Lisims Government issued a trespass notice to vacate Nass River site

The Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) has announced its support for the Gitanyow in a recent territorial dispute with the Nisga’a Nation.

On July 26, a Gitanyow traditional house group was given a 24-hour notice by the RCMP on behalf of the Nisga’a Lisims Government (NLG) to vacate a fishing site by the Nass River.

The notice was also publicly released by the NLG on their website and Facebook with photos, stating that alleged trespassers were “non-Nisga’a individuals conducting unauthorized activities on Nisga’a Lands” that violate the Nisga’a Land Act.

The UBCIC is submitting a court application to the BC Court of Appeal to intervene in what they call a critical case, as the land in dispute has been shared for generations under traditional First Nations’ law until the signing of the Nisga’a treaty.

“The case concerns the Crown’s obligations to the Gitanyow, whose rights and livelihoods were being imperiled by provisions of the Nisga’a Final Agreement (1999),” reads the UBCIC press release. “The UBCIC firmly opposes any notion that would treat Aboriginal title and rights unequally among Indigenous groups, namely those that have concluded a treaty and those that have not.”

The release adds this is against Canada’s Constitution and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

READ MORE: Nisga’a treaty stands up to court challenge

Glen Williams, president for the Gitanyow hereditary chiefs, says their people have a right to access the site, where they are fishing and conducting scientific studies approved by the DFO, and have no intent to leave.

“The house group that’s there now with their family has been there for centuries and based on traditional model, really enjoying their Aboriginal rights to that area and to be labeled as trespassers under white man law is really insulting. It’s a violation of our traditional law as well,” says Williams.

“It’s totally wrong, treaty rights don’t trump Aboriginal rights… one of the chiefs stated that it’s being used to distract their own members from difficulties that they may be having internally amongst themselves.”

READ MORE: Protesters demand transparency from Nisga’a government

Earlier this week, a community meeting was held at the Gitwangak community hall to discuss the matter with Gitanyow and supporting members.

Williams says although they plan on keeping things peaceful, they want the government to take notice how the Nisga’a treaty has negatively impacted the Gitanyow people and economy.

“They (governments) created the problem when they knew of the serious impact to Gitanyow and they need to come and begin to implement the United Nations Declaration,” says Williams. “How do we restore and correct the wrongs that they have created here? They can’t just sit back and watch Indians fight.”

The Nisga’a Lisims Government has not yet responded to the Terrace Standard’s request for an interview.


 


natalia@terracestandard.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Adverse weather forces ferry schedule change

Thursday’s Skidegate to Prince Rupert route affected

B.C. sockeye returns drop as official calls 2019 ‘extremely challenging’

Federal government says officials are seeing the same thing off Alaska and Washington state

Coast Mountain College announces interim president

Ken Burt, current president and CEO, will say goodbye to CMNT come September

Queen Charlotte crackdown

RCMP target impaired driving amidst rising numbers of the offence

Australian gold mining giant acquires Red Chris mine

Newcrest now owns 70 per cent of the mine south of Iskut and operatorship

New police force in Surrey must avoid VPD, RCMP errors made in Pickton case: Oppal

Boots are scheduled to be on the ground by spring 2021

Conan turns to the Property Brothers for tips on buying Greenland

Jonathan Scott suggests removing glaciers and mountains to bring in ‘more natural light’

Forests minister visits B.C. town rocked by multiple mill shutdowns

A third of Mackenzie turns out for rally, not much to cheer about

B.C. music teacher accused of sexual misconduct involving girls

Police believe other victims could be out there after the arrest of Lamar Victor Alviar

B.C. family stranded in Croatia desperate to come home

Funds being raised to bring back mom and two children

B.C. man on trial for daughters’ murders says an intruder broke in

Andrew Berry takes stand in his defense for December 2017 deaths of young daughters

‘Plenty of time for a deal’: Teachers’ union expects kids back in school on Sept. 3

BCTF says class size, composition at the heart of the issue

Province funds new shuttle buses for 13 B.C. senior centres

Activity, socializing helps maintain health, Adrian Dix says

Most Read