Members of an Indigenous First Nation in Canada’s Pacific coast province of British Columbia (B.C.) were at the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa Thursday (November 7), to hear a case that is expected to have far-reaching effects on aboriginal title across Canada.
The Supreme Court has been asked to determine if the Tsilhqot’in First Nation holds title to land in the Chilcotin region in B.C.’s Interior.
“The continued denial on the part of Canada and British Columbia with respect to our aboriginal title interests has created great economic uncertainty across this country,” says B.C.’s Grand Chief Stewart Phillip.
“The only answer with respect to this decision is a recognition of genuine aboriginal title interests, which will lay the foundation for genuine reconciliation between aboriginal title interests, and other Crown interests.”
The case began more than two decades ago, when the provincial government granted logging rights within the Xeni Gwet’in nation’s traditional territory, which is near Williams Lake.
In 2002, the Xeni Gwet’in and the larger Tsilhqot’in National Government went to court to prove aboriginal title to 4,400 square kilometres in the Chilko Lake area in the province’s Interior.
CBC News - Key B.C. aboriginal land claim case starts before Supreme Court – here
Vancouver Sun - Small B.C. Interior First Nation takes aboriginal-title fight to Canada’s highest court – here