By Binny Paul
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
A Gitxsan member’s fundraising efforts for a mobile longhouse was apparently abruptly suspended by GoFundMe on grounds of it violating policy.
In a Feb. 17 tweet, Git’luuhl’um’hetxwit Media uploaded a copy of the notice sent to organizer Kolin Sutherland-Wilson, a Git’luuhl’um’hetxwit house member, where GoFundMe informed him they had removed the fundraiser as it violated their terms of service.
“Today GoFundMe shut down our fundraiser for longhouse on wheels, before we had a chance to launch it,” read the tweet.
According to Git’luuhl’um’hetxwit Media’s description of the longhouse, called `landback mobile command centre,’ the longhouse was to be a distribution point for food, supplies and educational material that could be towed around Gitxsan villages.
The move by the American fundraising giant comes weeks after it suspended and refunded over $10 million raised in support of the trucker convoy to Ottawa protesting against vaccine mandates.
GoFundMe had then stated that it pivoted to shutting down the convoy fundraiser owing to the previously peaceful demonstration turning into an occupation, with police reports of violence and unlawful activity.
Sutherland-Wilson was one of those arrested south of Houston last October for violating court-ordered injunctions prohibiting activities aimed at stopping Coastal GasLink’s natural gas pipeline.
With respect to Sutherland-Wilson’s fundraiser, GoFundMe has not provided further clarification and has not yet responded to a request for comment. But based on the notice issued to him, it said the fundraiser fell within the company’s “prohibited conduct” section.
“Our Terms of Service, along with strictly enforced policies from the payments industry, prohibit GoFundMe from allowing you to continue raising money on our platform,” the notice read.
Sutherland-Wilson was also informed that donations made to the fundraiser, which have not already been transferred to the bank account, would be refunded back to donors within three to seven days.
Binny Paul is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the TERRACE STANDARD. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.