Thursday, June 26, 2014

First Nations Win....8-0!


Here's Peter O'Neil's lede at Postmedia:

OTTAWA — The Supreme Court of Canada, in the most important aboriginal rights case in the nation’s history, ruled that the Tsilhqot’in First Nation has title – or owns – 1,750 square kilometres of land in south central B.C.

The landmark ruling will provide a clear and less onerous roadmap for all unresolved land claims in B.C. and throughout Canada involving First Nations seeking to negotiate modern treaties – or to fight for their land rights in court.

“Aboriginal title confers the right to use and control the land and to reap the benefits flowing from it,” Justice Beverley McLachlin ruled in the 8-0 decision...

First thing that might be affected by this?

How about Northern Gateway?

Vaughn Palmer had a good backgrounder
on all of this a couple of days ago.



Mr. Beer N. Hockey said...

Shan't be long before the Unreasonables in Alberta, its capital city of Ottawa and Sparkleponytopia start demanding reasonableness on behalf of those now holding the right cards at the right time in the right country.

Eleanor Gregory said...

Key to understanding how British Columbia is different from other provinces with respect to aboriginal title is this paragraph from today's SCC judgment:

"[4] Throughout most of Canada, the Crown entered into treaties hereby the indigenous peoples gave up their claim to land in exchange or reservations and other promises, but, with minor exceptions, this did not happen in British Columbia. The Tsilhqot’in Nation is one of hundreds of indigenous groups in British Columbia with unresolved land claims."

Interesting story behind that bit of history involving a certain Joseph Trutch and the British imperial authorities.

kootcoot said...

I was stunned to read such an even handed piece by the "Dean." Then I realized that his main client (for his PR firm disguised as a editorial column)Crusty and crew aren't really involved in this issue which is really between the first nations and the Harper Reformatories.

Anonymous said...


The fallout is that instead of negotiations between province and band - The SCC has effectively said that talks are now Nation to Nation.

Welcome to BC Prime Minister Harper. Pleas enjoy your stay.

BC will be lucky to even be in the same room when those Nation to Nation talks happen.

Anonymous said...

decision here

RossK said...

EG--Tell us more about the good Mr. Trutch.


Anonymous said...

Joseph Trutch 18 January 1826 – 4 March 1904

- Trutch was noted for his hostility to land claims by First Nations people, and demonstrated contempt for their concerns. "I think they are the ugliest and laziest creatures I ever saw and we should as soon think of being afraid of our dogs as of them."

- In 1867 Trutch refused to recognize the legitimacy of the reserves established by former Lieutenant-Governor James Douglas and had them re-surveyed, reducing their size by 91%.

His memorandum of 1870 denied the existence of aboriginal title, setting the stage for the colonial assembly to prohibit aboriginal people from pre-empting unoccupied, unsurveyed, or unreserved land without special permission; this decision effectively established a 10-acre (40,000 m2) maximum and denied natives the right to acquire lands held by non-natives.

- In 1870, Trutch's brother John married the sister of the colonial governor Anthony Musgrave. Trutch and Musgrave became close. Following the establishment of the Canadian Confederation in 1867 they worked together to negotiate British Columbia's entry, which occurred in 1871 after they secured a promise for the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR).

- Trutch was the first Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia following Confederation, a position he retained from 1871–1876. Following his tenure as lieutenant governor, Trutch was appointed a "Dominion agent for British Columbia", and helped to oversee the construction of the CPR in the province.

North Van's Grumps said...

Joseph Trutch and Indian Land Policy" in B.C. Studies (1971 - 72) by Robin Fisher.

This policy was dramatically reversed in 1864 - 1865 by Joseph Trutch. As head of the colonial Department of Lands and Works, Trutch initiated a policy of reduction of the Douglas' reserves, of reluctance to allot additional reserves, and of non-recognition of the Indian's aboriginal claim (native title).

North Van's Grumps said...

Joseph Trutch and Indian Land Policy" in B.C. Studies (1971 - 72) by Robin Fisher.

RossK said...

Thanks All--

One has to wonder...Would Mr. Trutch have acted differently if, say, he'd had a hypothetical golf course to use as a decoy to launder parkland through a deal with a first nation to make his friends and political crony uncles rich?

If you get my drift...


scotty on denman said...

Four Eastern Colonies had good reason to fear American Manifest Destiny, confederation being one of their main counter-strategies; the other was soliciting a Pacific Colony to join the new federation. Found on the most remote of British mercantile shipping lanes, even remote from Canada itself, BC had only recently attracted a rush of American gold miners who made up merely the majority of whites until smallpox devastated native populations and made them the majority, period. Canada could only be alarmed by the situation and pressed its solicitations all the more earnestly to prevent the possibility of BC joining the USA instead. From this point it was recognized the real bonanza in BC was demanding more and more favour from the Canadian suitor, filling BC with every kind of huckster, carpetbagger, remittance-man and con-man. Extraordinary bribes, kickbacks, featherbedding and the like became as blatant as they were rampant: railway corruption even embroiled the Prime Minister himself; The capital of the new province had to be removed to Victoria, feverish land speculation having spoiled its strategically preferred location of New Westminster; the whole east side of Vancouver Island was awarded in return for fifteen miles of CPR track from Port Moody to Granville (as Vancouver was then called). There was no corruption that couldn't be overlooked nor any demand that Canada couldn't afford in order to get BC into the federation---not even a thousand miles of interceding hostile Indians and Metis. Everyone knew corruption was wrong---it was just that everybody from the lowest claim-jumper to highest society mogul was doing it and getting away with it. You could get away with almost anything if you were white; that's how bad Canada lusted after BC (and BC played it for all it was worth).

I've heard apologists for Joseph Trutch argue that he was simply a product of racist times. However, he knew very well what he was doing when he clawed back most of the Douglas Treaty lands his racist provincial government had inherited from the comparatively enlightened colonial one. He knew very well extinguishing aboriginal right to treaties was a breach of the articles of confederation ( that is, the Proclamation of 1763 contained therein), but, as just another of the many unethical contortions that he saw happening around him, it was something to which BC's love-sick federal suitor would acquiesce, as usual. Douglas attempted to fulfill the Royal Proclamation; Trutch purposely undid it. He bore nothing but ill will to First Nations, who he referred to as savages whilst he himself ascended to the highest office in the land---land taken without treaty from a tapestry of cultures which he hated with all his genocidal might.

So here's to you, Joseph! Today's your day, you bastard! If you only knew the mess you made and the suffering you caused.

Anonymous said...

VP has an good first look at the decision...

Welcome to the new B.C.

It’s their land: The Supreme Court ruling on Aboriginal land title is a judgment for the ages

"...the land has always been theirs."

So it was, so it is and so it is destined to remain for all time.