Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Text Size

Tribunal sides with B.C. First Nation in historic land-claims fight

By: Keven Drews, The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER - It may have taken more than 150 years, but justice over a long-standing land claim finally arrived for a First Nation in British Columbia's Interior in a ruling the elected chief says left her "literally shaking."

An independent, federal tribunal, known as the Specific Claims Tribunal, ruled Friday that the colony of British Columbia failed to protect the Williams Lake Indian Band's land from settlement during the 19th century and recover it in cases where it was "unlawfully pre-empted."

Referred to as the "Village Lands," the band's claim encompasses the present-day downtown core of Williams Lake, B.C., its stampede grounds, as well as areas known as Williams Creek and Scout Island.

"I was extremely elated, I was so taken aback by it, I was literally shaking, I was just so honoured that, you know, finally we've come to this decision," said Chief Ann Louie.

After all, said Louie, the band has been arguing for more a century and a half that it was pushed off its land, and many of those who have fought for the claim have died.

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada was unable to respond with its reaction by publication.

The band's claim dates back to 1861, when between July and November, settlers secured the lands in what was then a British colony. The tribunal's ruling states available evidence does not establish precisely the size of the Village Lands.

The federal government assumed responsibility for the issue once B.C. joined confederation in 1871.

In his ruling, Judge Harry Slade said the colony failed to meet the "applicable standard" in honouring its obligations to the First Nation.

"The Crown did not, in the case of the Williams Lake Indians, take the most basic steps required to protect their settlement lands from pre-emption or to set aside pre-emptions made contrary to law," he wrote.

"The Crown was bound as a fiduciary to put the Indian interest in their settlement lands ahead of the newcomers in acquiring rights of occupation to Crown land. It failed to meet the duty."

Louie said the federal government has until March 31 to review the claim and decide whether it will appeal.

If the government does not appeal, then the second phase of the claim can begin, which is negotiations or hearings to determine the final settlement for the properties, she added.

"It's time for the federal government to do the honourable thing and settle this on the path to reconciliation," said Louie. "You know, it's very expensive for the taxpayers to continue going down this road."

The tribunal was created in 2008 and consists of superior court judges who can make binding decisions on land clams and compensation up to a maximum of $150 million per claim.

Whatever Trevor

Dis is Trevor.

Education & Training

Blast from the past: FP archive

When is Consultation, Consultation?

Ovide Mercredi

National Chief – AFN

During a Treaty Roundtable meeting of the Alberta Chiefs, I took note of a federal government document outlining their strategy to define and ultimately impose their own form of self-government. Read more...

Letting go of residential schools

by Gilbert Oskaboose, Nov 1993 First Perspective

There is a lot of "unfinished business" in Indian Country. Garbage that we as a people have never really dealt with. Chief among them is the whole issue of those infamous residential schools and their impact on people. Read more...

OBIDIAH

obidiah picture

ANALYSIS - Bill Gallagher

gallagher picture

Under the Northern Sky by Xavier Kataquapit

Under the Northern Sky by Xavier Kataquapit

JOBS

Regional Media Officer– Temp (Until Nov 2015) –F/T Position

Office of the Leader of the Official Opposition / NDP Research Office

Location:131 Queen Street, Suite 10-02, Ottawa, ON

Responsibilities

Communicate regularly with regional media outlets (community newspapers, radio stations, student media, ethnic media, etc.) to propose ideas for interviews and opinion content Read more...

Canadian Chamber of Commerce Aboriginal Workforce Report

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce released a report that highlights initiatives to improve the workforce participation of Aboriginal peoples. 

Opportunity Found: Improving the Participation of Aboriginal Peoples in Canada’s Workforce (December 2013)  

click image to download report

Tue Sep 23 @ 3:00PM - 04:15PM
FNHMA National Conference 2014
Sun Oct 05 @ 9:00AM - 05:00PM
INIHKD & Manitoba NEAHR Conference 2014

EVENTS

September 2014
S M T W T F S
31 1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 1 2 3 4
imageimageimageimageimage
cartoonscartoonscartoonscartoonscartoons

Current Video

RIP Percy Tuesday

 

Thanks to Althea Guiboche for allowing The First Perspective to share her video taken at the Manitowapow book launch at McNally Robinson. 

Percey sings Freddy Fender's "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights" and people join in to harmonize. 

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO): The Washington Redskins