Court Orders End to Gitwangak Occupation
Posted by Zig Zag
by John Crawford, CFTK-TV, Feb 23, 2017
The Gitwangak Band Council is proclaiming an end to the occupation of the band office, following a Supreme Court of B-C ruling in Terrace this week.
The occupation, led by a group of hereditary chiefs and others, began late last year, with protesters demanding the dismissal of the Band Manager and several other officials, and the resignation of the elected band chief and council.
The court ruling states the actions of the occupiers have gone beyond mere protest and have attempted to oust the legitimately elected band council.
Much of the dispute centred around what the protesters said was the band council’s attempt to take over the operation of the Gitwangak Education Society.
Band Chief Frederick Johnsonsays he regrets having to take the protesters to court, but their actions left no other choice.
B.C. court sides with First Nations band, orders end to office occupation
Canadian Press, February 24, 2017
TERRACE, B.C. — The chief of the Gitwangak Band says the courts have ordered an end to an occupation of the band’s office, about 100 kilometres north of Terrace, B.C.
Chief Frederick Johnson made the comment following a B.C. Supreme Court ruling in Terrace on Thursday.
Johnson says he regrets having to take legal action, but the group of hereditary chiefs and other protesters left no other choice.
Demonstrators occupied the band’s office on Dec. 15., originally because of what they claimed was council’s attempt to control the operation of the Gitwangak Education Society.
Their demands grew to include removal of the band manager, resignation of the chief and council and the severing of ties with the Department of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada.
In his ruling ordering the occupiers out, Justice Robert Punnett found they had trespassed in the band office and went beyond mere protest by attempting to oust the legitimately elected council.