Find us on Facebook


Tsilhqot'in Title Case Makes History

"Held:  The appeal should be allowed and a declaration of Aboriginal title over the area requested should be granted. A declaration that British Columbia breached its duty to consult owed to the Tsilhqot’in Nation should also be granted".

On June 26, 2014, the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) released a unanimous 8-0 decision acknowledging the truth of what the Xeni Gwet'in peoples of the Tsilhqot'in have always known: they do have title to their traditional territory.  Building on the groundbreaking ruling by Justice David Vickers in 2007, the SCC granted Aboriginal title to 1,750 sq. km., thereby firmly and finally denying the narrow "postage stamp" view of title that was under appeal. The Supreme Court ruled  that "occupation sufficient to ground Aboriginal title is not confined to specific sites of settlement but extends to tracts of land that were regularly used for hunting, fishing or otherwise exploiting resources and over which the group exercised effective control at the time of assertion of European sovereignty." Thursday’s ruling marked the first time the Supreme Co urt has recognized aboriginal title to a specific piece of land. (See Decision Here)

"This decision means we now have the opportunity to settle, once and for all, the so-called 'Indian land question' in B.C. and elsewhere in Canada where Aboriginal title exists through good faith negotiations," Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief of B. C. Jody Wilson-Raybould said.

“We take this time to join hands and celebrate a new relationship with Canada. We are reminded of our elders who are no longer with us. First and foremost we need to say sechanalyagh (thank you) to our Tsilhqot’in Elders, many of whom testified courageously in the courts. We are completing this journey for them and our youth. Our strength comes from those who surround us, those who celebrate with us, those who drum with us” said Plaintiff, Chief Roger William of Xeni Gwet’in.

This ruling of Aboriginal title confers rights including:
  • the right to decide how the land will be used;
  • the right to economic benefit of the land;
  • the right to pro-actively use and manage the land.
"The right to control the land conferred by Aboriginal title means that governments and others seeking to use the land must obtain the consent of the Aboriginal title holders".  If consent is not provided, "the government's only recourse is to establish that the proposed incursion on the land is justified under s.35 of the Constitution Act, 1982".

Furthermore, the SCC found that the B.C. Forest Act does not apply to to the Tsilhqot'in Aboriginal title lands so that the beneficial interest in the land, including its resources, belong to the Tsilhqot'in title holders.

FONV honours the perseverence and courage of the Xeni Gwet'in First Nations and all the Tsilhqot'in people whose truth has finally been recognized by Canada.  This is a historic day for First Nations and for all Canadians as we move from a pattern of denial of FNs rights into a readiness to reconcile through acknowledgment, in real ways, of those those rights.

Posted by: Admin. Saturday Jun 28, 2014 12:21
Categories: aboriginal, Title | Tags: court case, rights and title, Supreme Court

Sponsored by BC Travel - GoBC and,  Powered by Victoria web design solutions