Monumental Canadian Land Rights Decision

Good News from our neighbors to the north.


Today’s announcement of a unanimous 8-0 ruling by The Supreme Court of Canada in favor of the Tsilhqot’in first nations land claim appeal – nothing less than astonishing. Aboriginal leaders wept, overwhelmed by the unexpected victory ending a decades old dispute.

The ruling settled aboriginal claim to 440,00 hectares of land near Williams Lake in the B.C. interior. Tsilhqot’in First Nations people took a 2012 B.C. Court of Appeal decision (one giving rights to hunt,trap and trade in traditional territory provided they name specific places their people once lived) to the Supreme Court, arguing their people were “semi-nomadic” and the Court of Appeal decision ignored centuries old tradition.

The decision written by Chief Justice Beverly McLachlin recognized semi-nomadic land claim titles, removing “continuous occupation” as a requirement, giving First Nations people the legal right to use and profit from traditional lands. In future, this decision will apply to all disputed…

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