B.C. court sides with First Nations band, orders end to office occupation

Courts order end to occupation of Gitwangak office

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. (CJFW)

The Canadian Press

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