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B.C. First Nation files Aboriginal title claim challenging fish farms in their territory

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Dzawada’enuxw leaders outside BC Supreme Court in Vancouver. Photo courtesy Lindsey Mae Willie

by Laurie Hamelin, APTN News, June 2, 2018
The Dzawada’enuxw First Nation of Kingcome Inlet filed a claim of Aboriginal title in British Columbia’s Supreme Court that affects ten fish farms in their traditional territory that they say are operating without their consent. Read the rest of this entry

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How a historic court decision is driving a new wave of First Nations protests

Musgamagw Dzawada'enuxw hereditary-chiefs

Three hereditary chiefs of the Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw issued the eviction notice to a fish farm on the north end of Vancouver Island this week. (Tamo Campos/YouTube)

Native protesters moving on fish farms in wake of landmark decision recognizing First Nations land rights

By Richard Zussman, CBC News, August 27, 2016

Fish farms along British Columbia’s West Coast have been at the centre of political and environmental battles for years, but this time it’s a two-year-old legal decision that’s behind the string of recent protests by First Nations against the industry. Read the rest of this entry

Tsilhqot’in land ruling was a game changer for B.C.

Chief Roger William, right, of the Xeni Gwet'in First Nation is flanked by chiefs and other officials as he pauses while speaking during a news conference in Vancouver after the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in favour of the Tsilhqot'in First Nation, granting it land title to 438,000 hectares of land. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

Chief Roger William, right, of the Xeni Gwet’in First Nation is flanked by chiefs and other officials as he pauses while speaking during a news conference in Vancouver after the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in favour of the Tsilhqot’in First Nation, granting it land title to 438,000 hectares of land. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

The Tsilhqot’in, after years of being ignored by government, now a priority for B.C.’s premier

By Duncan McCue, CBC News, Dec 23, 2014

The sun had yet to rise in British Columbia on June 26, when a group of Tsilhqot’in chiefs congregated with legal advisers to receive their copy of a long-awaited decision from the Supreme Court of Canada.

By 6:01 a.m. PT, it was clear: the highest court in the land had issued B.C. quite a wake-up call.

As First Nations leaders began expressing joy and surprise on social media, myself and other groggy reporters nursing coffees hustled to a hastily called press conference, where chiefs triumphantly proclaimed the decision a “game changer.” Read the rest of this entry

First Nations rights and title claims: Is it legitimate to call it class struggle?

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Northern Gateway pipeline: First Nations outline constitutional challenges

"Grand Chief" Stewart Phillips of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs.

“Grand Chief” Stewart Phillips of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says at least 9 legal challenges have been launched

By Mike Laanela, CBC News, July 14, 2014

Several B.C. First Nations are launching at least nine court challenges to try to block Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline, leaders revealed at a news conference this morning in Vancouver.

The First Nations leaders said they will argue the proposed pipeline and its recent approval by the federal government is a constitutional violation of their aboriginal land rights in their respective territories, particularly in light of the Supreme Court of Canada victory last month by the Tsilhqot’in First Nation. Read the rest of this entry

Gitxsan First Nation evicting rail, logging, fishing interests

Members of the Gitxsan First Nation opposed to the $5.5-billion Enbridge oil pipeline from Alberta to the British Columbia port of Kitimat warm themselves around a fire at a camp outside the Gitxsan Treaty Office in Hazelton, B.C., on Thursday January 12, 2012.

Members of the Gitxsan First Nation opposed to the $5.5-billion Enbridge oil pipeline from Alberta to the British Columbia port of Kitimat warm themselves around a fire at a camp outside the Gitxsan Treaty Office in Hazelton, B.C., on Thursday January 12, 2012.

Other B.C. bands also making claims following Supreme Court of Canada ruling

CBC News/The Canadian Press, July 10, 2014

British Columbia First Nations are wasting no time in enforcing their claim on traditional lands in light of a landmark Supreme Court of Canada decision recognizing aboriginal land title.

The hereditary chiefs of the Gitxsan First Nations served notice Thursday to CN Rail, logging companies and sport fishermen to leave their territory along the Skeena River in a dispute with the federal and provincial governments over treaty talks. Read the rest of this entry

First Nations mistaken in their celebration of Supreme Court ruling

No Justice Stolen Land buttonBy Ian Mulgrew, Vancouver Sun, June 29, 2014

“Welcome to Colonial Courtrooms,” should have been the title of the Supreme Court of Canada’s landmark aboriginal rights judgment.

While B.C. natives were busy last week celebrating the court’s affirmation of their “aboriginal title,” they should have paid closer attention to the fine print.  In spite of all the hand-wringing about threats to resource development and the land mass of B.C., this is a big victory for governments.  In the unanimous 8-0 decision, which dismissed with nary a nod the last half century of strident native assertions of sovereignty, the high court said B.C. natives are not unlike any other litigant squatter.

Read the rest of this entry

Pipeline prospects take a hit as Supreme Court grants land title to B.C. First Nation

supreme court canadaAboriginal communities’ land claims have become much more viable, making future resource development iffier

Dwight Newman, Financial Post, June 26, 2014

The Supreme Court of Canada has just released its latest take on the rules on Aboriginal title – and the first declaration of Aboriginal title in Canadian history. Its groundbreaking decision concerning the Tsilhqot’in Nation’s claims has the potential to reshape aspects of Canadian resource development more broadly. To understand why, we need to back up a bit to understand what the case has changed on Aboriginal title and why that matters.

Aboriginal title is the form of ownership Aboriginal communities hold over unceded lands that they regularly and exclusively used in the past. It is not identical to but is analogous to the fee simple title that private landowners hold, with the important difference that the courts have always considered Aboriginal title land to be collectively owned by a particular Aboriginal community. Read the rest of this entry

Tsilhqot’in granted B.C. title claim in Supreme Court ruling

Tsilhqot'in protest at Taseko Mine's annual general meeting in Vancouver, June 2010

Tsilhqot’in protest at Taseko Mine’s annual general meeting in Vancouver, June 2010

Top court’s decision today resolves legal questions following 2012 B.C. Court of Appeal ruling

CBC News, June 26, 2014

The Supreme Court of Canada has granted declaration of aboriginal title to more than 1,700 square kilometres of land in British Columbia to the Tsilhqot’in First Nation, the first time the court has made such a ruling regarding aboriginal land.

The unanimous 8-0 decision released Thursday resolves many important legal questions, such as how to determine aboriginal title and whether provincial laws apply to those lands. It will apply wherever there are outstanding land claims.

The decision, written by Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, also has implications for future economic or resource development on First Nations lands. Read the rest of this entry