Lax Kw’alaams mayor says Gitga’at’s LNG litigation disrespects band’s aboriginal title

Lax Kw'alaams Mayor Garry Reece said the band will be intervening in litigation filed by the Gitga'at related to Pacific NorthWest LNG

Lax Kw’alaams Mayor Garry Reece said the band will be intervening in litigation filed by the Gitga’at Nation related to Pacific NorthWest LNG, saying statements made in the claim “disrespect our aboriginal title”.

The petition from the Gitga’at claims “a long history of use and occupation of the Prince Rupert area” as well as aboriginal rights to harvest land and sea resources in the Prince Rupert area, which the Gitga’at says should mean Pacific NorthWest LNG needs to negotiate compensation for the band.

However, Reece said the litigation is nothing more than a “cash grab” by the Gitga’at.

“The Gitga’at First Nation have been our respected Tsimshian neighbours to the south for millennia, but their traditional territory is at Hartley Bay along the Douglas Channel, well south of the Skeena – they have never previously made any claims to Prince Rupert,” he said in a statement.

“Unfortunately, their desire for a cash grab from the Province and LNG companies has led them to disrespect our aboriginal rights and title and we must intervene to make sure the Court has the full facts. Prince Rupert Harbour is the exclusive territory of the nine Allied Tribes.”

A representative from the Gitga’at band did not immediately return a request for comment from the Northern View.