BC Supreme Court ruling upholds Gitxsan Hereditary Chiefs' role in Treaty Society

HAZELTON, BC, May 31, 2013 /CNW/ - An eight-month wait for a ruling from the BC Supreme Court on challenges to the Gitxsan Treaty Society ended today when Mr. Justice McEwan ordered an Extraordinary General Meeting of all hereditary chiefs within 30 days to appoint directors of GTS.

The arguments of the four protesting band councils who brought the case against GTS, Canada, British Columbia, and the BC Treaty Commission were dismissed.

The judge has ordered a clear process for appointment of directors of GTS in what is really a minor fix under the Societies Act. It is also clear from his ruling that he understood the issues involved and that he accepted the authority of Gitxsan laws (ayookw) and of the hereditary chiefs.

"This takes a great weight off the shoulders of our community and keeps us on the road of collective cooperation", says Beverly Clifton Percival.  "Now, the Gitxsan people will continue with the work-in-progress that is so important to our people -- reconciling land issues with the crown and finding economic opportunity to create employment and alleviate social problems."

The hereditary chiefs thank the BC Treaty Commission for the strong leadership role it played throughout the case in its support of the hereditary chiefs.

Under Mr. Justice McEwan's ruling:

  1. The GTS must hold an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) within 30 days of his order to appoint directors.
  2. For the purpose of the EGM only voting members of the GTS include all Gitxsan hereditary chiefs who are head of a Gitxsan house and who have submitted a membership form to the court.
  3. James Angus is authorized to organize the EGM and must send a notice stating the time and place of the meeting within 14 days.
  4. Within 21 days anyone wishing to stand for appointment as a director of GTS must provide written notice to Mr. Angus.
  5. Mr. Angus will provide a list of candidates to the members at the start of the EGM.
  6. Members will appoint 12 directors at the EGM, with equal representation from each of the four Gitxsan Pdeek, if possible.

SOURCE: Gitxsan Treaty Society

For further information:

Beverly Clifton-Percival (Gwaans) Cell Phone: (250) 847-0603

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