A demonstration of joint determination to safeguard the community, protect lives and deter unnecessary escalations
(December 21, 2022, New Hazelton, BC) —- Gitxsan Hereditary Chiefs and the RCMP have signed an unprecedented agreement for a Community Safety Plan for Gitxsan Land Issues. The goal of the Community Safety Plan is to specifically deal with burgeoning safety crises between the RCMP and members of the Gitxsan people on their lands which covers 33,000 sq. kilometers in Northern British Columbia.
“We were concerned that RCMP escalation at blockades set up on Gitxsan Laxyip (lands) and on the Anaat (traditional fishing holes owned by the Gitxsan) where trespassers are asked to vacate Gitxsan jurisdiction, could result in deaths if escalation and militarization of the RCMP continued,” says Simogyat Gwiiyeehl, (Brian Williams) a Gitxsan Huwilp Government Hereditary Chief.
“The Gitxsan do and will continue to defend our ownership and interests in our Laxyip. With this Community Safety Plan, we will work together so no lives are lost in the event of escalations on our lands ” says Simogyat Molaxan (Norman Moore) Gitxsan Huwilp Government Hereditary Chief.
“We understand the RCMP are obligated to act as ordered by a Provincial Supreme Court Justice but have discretion as to how and when an Order is enforced. This agreement is a proactive measure for the future work that is required with a community first approach. The sentiment is clearly shared…as the RCMP signed off on the Plan.” says Simogyat Gwiiyeehl.
The Plan calls for the development of a Community Safety Playbook that encompasses a Crisis Management Process. The Playbook will be stress-tested annually to prepare all parties in the event of a real crisis situations emerging.
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For full details of the plan click here.https://gitxsan.ca/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/December-20-2022-signed-Community-Safety-Plan-3.pdf
ABOVE PHOTO CAPTION (Left to right) Simogyat Gwiiyeehl, (Brian Williams ) Gitxsan Huwilp Government Hereditary Chief and Lead Negotiator, Warren Brown, RCMP Chief Superintendent and Simogyat Molaxan (Norman Moore)