Supreme Court of BC injunction ends occupation of Gitwangak Band Office
On Tuesday, The Supreme Court of British Columbia ruled in favor of the Gitangak Band to evict occupiers of the band office. The injunction says the defendants are prohibited from entering the band office until there’s a trial on the action.
“It is unfortunate that we had to take the occupiers to court, but they took the position that they own the band office and evicted us,” says Chief Frederick Johnson. “We will continue to work in the best interests of the whole Gitwangak Community.”
Hereditary Chief Ska’yan was named as a defendant. She was part of occupying the band office since mid-December to evict the band manager and stop an alleged takeover of the Gitwangak Education Society.
“We felt so disrespected by our own elected officials. Yes, they have a place to provide services. But to go to great lengths against us…you know, the lowest of the low is to go against the hereditary system that has been in place forever,” says Ska’yan. “Keeping in mind that our laws are still in place…we’ll have to figure all that out…I think it will bring a huge group of people together.”
The injunction also prohibits defendants from entering Gitwangak Band operated buildings – unless for business authorized by the band council – and prevents anyone from interfering with anyone trying to access the band office.
An interim council has been formed, along with a judicial review application filed by the Gitwangak Education Society, to resist the band council’s alleged takeover of the Gitwangak Elementary School, and to push for an independent financial audit on the band’s finances.