Madii Lii - Gitxsan Nation
(Text from madiilii.com) Madii Lii is the Lax Yip (territory) of the Wilp (house) of Luutkudziiwus of the Gitxsan Nation. The territory is located in the Suskwa valley, and is accessed via the Suskwa Forest Service Rd at km 15 (click here for maps). Our Wilp consists of three high-ranking Simgiigyet (Hereditary Chiefs): Luutkudziiwus (Charlie Wright), Xsimjiitsiin (Lester Moore), & Noohla (Norman Moore), and over 600 other Wilp members. The Gitxsan Nation is divided into 64 Wilps (Luutkudziiwus is one of the most populous), and within the Gitxsan Matriarchal Hereditary System, Wilp chiefs are the highest ranking in the nation.
On Aug. 26, 2014, our chiefs permanently closed Madii Lii territory to all pipeline development (watch film of event here). A gate was erected at the entrance to the territory at 15 km bridge on the Suskwa FSR, and a cabin built to control access to the territory.
This choke point effectively cuts off access for industrial contractors into the territory, including to 32 km of TransCanada's proposed PRGT fracked gas pipeline route (learn more about the pipeline here).
The territory is now occupied full time, and our traditional traplines, hunting grounds, and trails are under use, as per Gitxsan Ayookw (Gitxsan Laws). We are planning for a busy summer of building a smokehouse, rootcellar, and gardens, as well as operating programs that will bring our young people, adults, and elders onto the territory to learn about our medicines, gather food, and reconnect with the land (see 2015 project proposals). Madii Lii for us is first and foremost a place of healing, of undoing the trauma of colonization, and of inspiring a new way forward without continued forces of oppression. We welcome guests who respect this.
We have never ceded, treatied, or surrendered control of our land. Luutkudziiwus’ special relationship to and stewardship of land, water, and respective resources on Madii Lii territory provide grounds for and affirm our rights, including title, guaranteed by Section 35(1) of the Constitution Act, 1982.
We are now pursuing legal advice about obtaining Title to our land in the eyes of contemporary Canadian and BC colonial law. The groundwork for obtaining Title was laid by the Delgamuukw (1997) and Tsilhqot'in (2014) court decisions. Title would return all governance and authority to its rightful holders, our matriarchal hereditary leaders, and would put any pipeline proposals to rest for good.
Our house group has been supported by dozens of Gitxsan and non-Gitxsan volunteers and supporters. This is not just our fight. We are standing alongside numerous other nations and communities that are standing up for a livable world against fracking, pipelines, mega-consumption, and oppression of all kinds. Click here to learn about some of our allies. If you would like to help, please click here.