Barb Zvatora April 24, 2008
Terrace, B.C., V8G 0G2
Mr. Nelson Leeson, President
Nisga'a Lisims Government
PO Box 229
New Aiyansh, BC V0J 1A0
Dear Mr. Leeson:
Nisga'a Lisims Government Internet Site appears to have been brought up to date so it would be consistant with your interpretations of our Nisa'a Nation Constitution and Nisga'a Final Agreement.
Some of your site information clearly explains Nisga'a Lisims Government's decisions and actions resulting in the systematic obliteration of the Nisga'a Nation as owners of Nisga'a Assets as asserted by the Supreme Court in 1969 and most recently by YOUR Nisga'a Final Agreement's pitiful designation of assets. Some of the ramifications of SELF government have been no new homes since May 11, 2000 in Gingolx, Greenville, and Canyon City followed by eviction notices and evictions, without any emergency shelters in place; illegal logging on "court injunction" threatened hereditary chiefs' lands; illegal 24/7 Nisga'a Lisims Government fish wheel "communal" fish harvesting - resulting in truck loads of fish leaving the valley as our fishers adhere to rules and regulations enacted without consultation due to manufactured reasons such as insufficient returns, low escapement reports, etc.
Nisga'a Lisims Government, again - without consulting the Nisga'a Nation, added yourselves as defendants of the Nisga'a Nation Constitution and Nisga'a Final Agreement - What exactly are you defending?
If you are so concerned and determined to defend certain constitutional and final agreement sections - why aren't you adhering to and defending the following:
Nisga'a Nation Constitution
Chapter 3 Lands and Resources
16. Determination of ownership of Nisga'a Lands
Ownership of Nisga'a Lands by the Nisga'a Nation and Nisga'a Villages will be determined in accordance with the Nisga'a Treaty.
Chapter 4 Government of the Nisga'a Nation
23. Governing principles of the Nisga'a Nation
The Nisga'a Nation expects Nisga'a Lisims Government, each Nisga'a Village Government, each Nisga'a Institution and each elected member of Nisga'a Government, to:
(a) be loyal to the Nisga'a Nation, and respect this Constitution;
(b) preserve and promote the peace, unity and well being of the Nisga'a Nation;
(c ) provide good, effective, and accountable government; and
(d) cooperate with one another in mutual trust and good faith, consult and inform one another on matters of common interest, and coordinate their actions and laws with one another.
24. Social and economic goals of the Nisga'a Nation
The Nisga'a Nation expects Nisga'a Government to pursue, among other goals:
(a) that Nisga'a citizens have access to pre-school to grade 12 and post-education at standards at least comparable to those prevailing in Canada;
(b) that Nisga'a citizens have access to nutrition, shelter, health care services and social services;
(c ) that Nisga'a citizens have access to housing;
(d) that every Nisga'a child
(i) has a home with family care or parental care, or appropriate alternative care when removed from the family environment; and
(ii) is protected from maltreatment, neglect, or abuse including exploitative labour practices; and
(e) that the environment of the Nass Area is protected from ecological degradation.
Nisga'a Final Agreement
Chapter 3 LANDS
Ownership of Nisga'a Lands
3. On the effective date, the Nisga'a Nation owns Nisga'a Lands in fee simple, being the largest estate known in law. This estate is not subject to any condition, proviso, restriction, exception, or reservation set out in the Land Act, or any comparable limitation under any federal or provincial law. No estate or interest in Nisga'a Lands can be exprorpriated except as permitted by, and in accordance with, this Agreement.
19. For greater certainty, in accordance with paragraph 3, on the effective date the Nisga'a Nation owns all mineral resources on or under Nisga'a Lands.
Chapter 5 FOREST RESOURCES
OWNERSHIP OF RESOURCES
3. On the effective date, the Nisga'a Nation owns all forest resources on Nisga'a Lands.
Chapter 8 FISHERIES
Nisga'a Fish Entitlements
4. Nisga'a fish entitlements are held by the Nisga'a Nation.
5. The Nisga'a Nation may not dispose of Nisga'a fish entitlements.
From these few sections - how do you figure that the Nisga'a Nation is only a meal ticket (per capita receipt of funds) to your government?
Immediately change some of your site reports according to the Nisga'a Constitution and Nisga'a Final Agreement as it states under Lands and Resources Subsurface Resources (and possibly others:)
Lands & Resources
Nisga’a Government owns all mineral resources on or under Nisga’a Lands, including:
· precious and base metals
· coal, petroleum, natural gases and geothermal resources
· earth, soil, peat, and marl (deposits of clay and calcium carbonate)
· sand, gravel, rock and stone
Lisims Forest Resources LLP
In 2003, Nisga’a Lisims Government created Lisims Forest Resources LLP to manage the marketing and sale of Nisga’a forest resources. Wholly-owned by NLG, Lisims Forest Resources LLP seeks to expand and diversify the market for Nisga’a wood, which is used to build a wide range of products from multi-story buildings to fine, handmade guitars. Hemlock, balsam fir, cedar, spruce, and several deciduous species are harvested from Nisga’a Lands. In addition to domestic clients, Lisims Forest Resources LLP sells Nisga’a wood to China, Japan, and Korea, and is actively seeking partners to develop value-added wood products for both domestic and international customers.
Fisheries & Wildlife
Nisga’a Fisheries Ltd.
A wholly-owned Nisga’a Lisims Government corporation, Nisga’a Fisheries Ltd. oversees the harvest and sale of Nisga’a fish. Fresh and fresh-frozen Nisga’a fish are sold across Canada and the United States. Nisga’a Fisheries Ltd. operates three landing sites on the Nass River and is responsible for grading, counting, and weighing salmon for payment, as well as sales of insulated fish totes (carriers) and the distribution of flaked ice to eligible Nisga’a fishers to ensure a superior quality product. It also oversees the transport of all salmon to a central depot located at the Nisga’a Fresh Fish Plant at New Aiyansh. Nisga’a Fisheries Ltd. is actively seeking experienced partners to help further expand our market presence across North America and beyond.
Most importantly - Nisga'a Lisims Government, under your leadership, has failed to consult with the owners of all the lands and all the resources in the Nass Valley - the Nisga'a Nation - the population you are supposed to serve. As a reminder, your definition of "consult" means provision to a Party of:
a. notice of a matter to be decided, in sufficient detail to permit the Party to prepare its views on the matter;
b. a reasonable period of time to permit the Party to prepare its view on the matter;
c. an opportunity for the Party to present its view on the matter; and
d. a full and fair consideration of any views on the matter so presented by the Party.
Our Nisga'a Assembly is scheduled for next week, can you address whether your government has followed the Nisga'a Nation Constitution regarding:
Chapter 9 - Financial Administration
52. Control of financial administration
Wilp Si'ayuukhl Nisga'a must make laws to establish a system of financial administration, through which Nisga'a Lisims Government will be financially accountable to Nisga'a citizens, and Nisga'a Village Governments will be financial accountable to Nisga'a citizens of those Nisga'a Villages, and that includes standards comparable to those generally accepted for governments in Canada.
53. Nisga'a settlement trust
(1) The Nisga'a Nation must establish a Nisga'a settlement trust.
(2) A document establishing a Nisga'a settlement trust in accordance with subsection (1) must require that the trustee or trustees be appointed only by persons elected to Nisga'a Government.
54. Lisims Fisheries Conservation Trust
(1) The President, in consultation with the other members of the Nisga'a Lisims Government Executive and on the recommendation of the Nisga'a Finance Committee, may exercise any power of the Nisga'a Nation to appoint trustees of the Lisims Fisheries Conservation Trust.
(2) The Trustees referred to in subsection (1) will discharge their responsibilities in accordance with the Nisga'a Treaty.
55. Independence of trustees
Trustees of a Nisga'a settlement trust, or of the Lisims Fishries Conservation Trust appointed under subsection 55(1), in acting as trustees, are independent of Nisga'a Government.
55(1) does not exist. Who are these trustees? When will they present and distribute audited financial statements to the Nisga'a Nation?
Here is a letter from Mr. Aaron J. GreyCloud written prior to the Nisga'a Final Agreement. This letter was never published by anyone (Canadian freedom of press) as that would interfere with your job of Indian Agent for the Canadian Government and their path to eradicate their "Indian Problem in Canada" - one Nation at a time. What he wrote is our reality. At the assembly, will you address how your government avoided these scenarios since 2000. Refrain from referring to NLG companies as they would not have existed if NLG did not steal money from Core Program Funds and the Nisga'a Nation and used the funds to subsidize the Nisga'a economic welfare system for friends and relatives.
Last but not least, Nisga'a (in name only) Lisims Government has been receiving the full amount of social services assistance funds for qualified recipients; however, Nisga'a Lisims Government decides how much is paid to each individual - which was $185 a month. How did you and your peers arrive at this figure yet the first order of business of the newly elected Nisga'a Lisims Government was to give yourselves increases. Here are some of the salaries that you found hard to live on in 2004: President $103,550, Sec Treas $98,100, Chairperson $98,100 and the Chief Councillors, Councillors and Urban reps ranged from $42,000 to $50,000 per year (this does not include per diems.)