Ruling Alters Canada’s Balance of Native Rights

Cattle drive on the Chilcotin Highway, British Columbia. Photo Deborah Jones © 2012

Cattle drive on the Chilcotin Highway, British Columbia. Photo Deborah Jones © 2012

Canada’s top court greatly expanded aboriginal rights in Canada’s westernmost province, in what may stand as a landmark decision affecting control of a vast swath of land and resources, in British Columbia and beyond.

The case, Tsilhqot’in Nation v. British Columbia, was sparked in 1983 when the provincial government licenced a commercial company to log the Chilcotin. The licence was disputed by the Chilcotin residents who lived there long before the mid 2800s when — without their consent — England claimed the land as a colony, and named it British Columbia.

Today the Supreme Court of Canada granted a historic “declaration of Aboriginal title,” and ruled the province of British Columbia had breached its duty to consult with the Tsilhqot’in Nation on the licence.

The ruling matters greatly because the logging dispute is just one of a myriad of specific complaints embedded in hundreds of historic, sweeping and unresolved aboriginal claims that cover almost the entire province. Today’s decision will have an impact on each and every one of them …. read more (this Dispatch, in Justice, is free of charge):

Canadian Court Expands Aboriginal Rights 

 

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