The Masset RCMP has recently been receiving information from concerned citizens of Haida Gwaii about a group called the Earth People United and the groups founder Erick Gonzalez.
The groups website states that their mission is to connect people to the natural and spiritual world, and to bridge the wisdom of the Ancient Ones with the world of today. One of the concerns raised by the public is that the group is encouraging and facilitating the use of hallucinogenic drugs during the religious ceremonies in order to experience a spiritual state of mind. It has been reported that drugs such as peyote, mescaline and ayahuasca are being used during these ceremonies to elicit hallucinations that are then being interpreted as spiritual or ceremonial. It should be noted that mescaline in any form is a controlled substance and is listed in the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) under Schedule III of the act. As such possession or distribution of mescaline would contravene the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and could result in charges under the CDSA.
The Masset RCMP is urging the public to think critically about the use of these so called “healing” or “spiritual” drugs. Not only are some of these substances illegal in Canada but it has been reported that they can produce negative long term side affects to a persons health and well being. These side affects have been described as insomnia, anxiety, emotional instability and headaches which can also be accompanied by various other physiological reactions. The illegal nature of these hallucinogenic drugs and their health risks should be taken very seriously if considering their use.
The other significant concern being communicated by community members is that traditional Haida gifts are being given to the groups founder, Erick Gonzalez. These culturally relevant gifts are provided in addition to a fee that is required to attend the ceremonies and take part in the spiritual gatherings. There is concern among community members that the motivation for accepting these gifts is for the monitory value of the gifts instead of the cultural significance that is usually associated to gift giving in the Haida Nation. The tradition of gifting is an widely accepted practice and is not suggested that it should be stopped. What is of concern is the expectation of receiving a gift. Any group or individual that expresses an expectation to receive a gift, should be questioned in regards to their motives.
The Masset RCMP would like to encourage people to question the actions of individuals or organizations who claim to provide a spiritually healing experience in exchange for a monetary sum.
At this time Masset RCMP is continuing the investigation into this matter and encourages people who may have further information to contact Cst Scott McDiarmid of the Masset Detachment at (250)626-3991.