Friday, September 29, 2017

Elmer Derrick's final journey brings return to Northwest

Gitxsan leaderElmer Derrick
has passed  away

(Photo Porto of PR website)
One of the major figures in First Nations governance in the Northwest passed away last week, with the notice of the passing of Elmer Derrick first noted through a Facebook obituary post and then by a range of news items that traced some of the history of the Hereditary Chief of the Gitxsan nation.

Family members accompanied Mr. Derrick's remains making the journey to Terrace on Thursday, with plans for a commemoration of his life still to be developed.

The Hereditary Chief of the Gitxsan passed away at the age of 69 on September 22nd at St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver and once word began to filter out of his passing reaction came from many areas of the Northwest.

Among those delivering tributes was the Board of Directors from the Port of Prince Rupert and Skeena MLA Ellis Ross who offered up a personal remembrance of Mr. Derrick's work in the region and his mentorship through the years.

Mr. Derrick's long career in the region featured some controversy along the way, the nature of the negotiations that would have allowed the then proposed (and eventually terminated) Enbridge pipeline project to travel through Gitxsan territory proving to be a significant flash point of division in the Gitxsan community and the Northwest.

However, beyond that controversial time of 2012, the Gitxsan Hereditary Chief had a full body of work in Northwest British Columbia making for an expansive career that involved much in the way of advocacy for his nation.

In addition to his work as a Chief Negotiator for the Gitxsan Nation and his membership on a number of Boards of Directors, Mr. Derrick had also been an educator in the Northwest, having taught courses at Northwest Community College.

Former Premier Christy Clark made note of Mr. Derrick's passing and paid tribute to his legacy in the province with a short note posted yesterday through Facebook.

Through his comments to CFTK TV, Mr. Ross is to this point, the only area politician to pay tribute to the impact of Mr. Derrick's work in the Northwest.

While they host a number of constituency and social media portals for information delivery. Yet to make any comment so far on the passing of the Gitxsan leader are northwest MLA Doug Donaldson in Stikine, MLA Jennifer Rice on the North Coast, as well as Nathan Cullen the federal MP for the region.

Some of the Northwest notes on Mr. Derrick's passing can be reviewed below:

The Gitxsan Nation are mourning the death of Chief Derrick 
Elmer Derrick remembered (video)
Hereditary Chief Elmer Derrick passes away
Chief Elmer Derrick, director of Port Authority Board, passes away
Gitxsan mourn loss of hereditary Chief Elmer Derrick
Skeena MLA Ellis Ross Reacts to Elmer Derrick's death
Prince Rupert Port Authority reacts to Elmer Derrick's death

An update through Social Media has outlined the path ahead over the next few days as the Gitxsan prepare to remember their chief:

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