Grand Chief Ed John of the First Nations Summit speaks to a joint meeting of cabinet and aboriginal leaders in Vancouver Thursday.

Grand Chief Ed John of the First Nations Summit speaks to a joint meeting of cabinet and aboriginal leaders in Vancouver Thursday.

Premier urged to accept aboriginal title B.C.-wide

Aboriginal leaders call for an end to costly legal tactics and a return to title negotiations derailed in 2009

Aboriginal leaders opened their meeting with the provincial cabinet Thursday by urging them to resume discussions to recognize aboriginal title instead of dragging out case after case in the courts.

Premier Christy Clark convened the special session in Vancouver Thursday after visiting the Nemiah Valley near Williams Lake, where the Tsilhqot’in Nation established title in a landmark ruling in June. Clark signed a letter of understanding with the Tsilhqot’in to work on implementing the verdict of the Supreme Court of Canada ruling, the first to acknowledge title to a specific area of what was considered Crown land.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs told the gathering in Vancouver that Clark’s “public platitudes” echo those of former premier Gordon Campbell in 2009 when he proposed legislation to recognize title province-wide.

That proposal caused the B.C. Business Council to “set its hair on fire” and issue “an inflammatory legal opinion” that derailed the effort, Phillip said.

In fact it was B.C. aboriginal leaders who voted the proposal down four months after it was pulled from the legislature on the eve of the 2009 B.C. election.

Grand Chief Ed John of the First Nations Summit recounted federal and provincial efforts to thwart land claims cases, from prohibiting aboriginal people from hiring lawyers in the 1920s to the tactics used in the 2007 Tsilhqot’in trial.

That trial ran for 339 days in B.C. Supreme Court, after 10 pre-trial motions by federal and provincial lawyers trying to have the case thrown out on technical grounds, John said. When that failed, Xeni Gwet’in Chief Roger William, the named plaintiff, was made to testify for 46 days and none of his testimony was used by government lawyers after that, he said.

Aboriginal Relations Minister John Rustad said the Tsilqot’in letter of understanding is a commitment to redress issues of the past, including the “wrongful trial and hanging of the Tsilhqot’in chiefs in 1864-65.”

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
SD71 to address COVID-19 exposures with virtual town hall

The meeting is set for Thursday, March 4

Courtenay Elementary is the latest school on a growing list that has COVID-19 exposures. Google Maps photo
Courtenay Elementary latest school on growing list of COVID-19 exposures

Exposure dates at the school on McPhee Avenue are Feb. 22, 23 and 24

A decision to terminate the CVEDS contract aligns with the CVRD board and municipal partners’ interests to pursue economic and community development initiatives at a more local level. File photo of CVRD office in Courtenay
Comox Valley Regional District board votes to terminate CVEDS contract

The Comox Valley Regional District board has decided to provide the Comox… Continue reading

Island Health has announced a COVID-19 outbreak at Glacier View Lodge, a long-term care facility in the Comox Valley. File photo.
Island Health declares a COVID outbreak at Glacier View Lodge in Courtenay

A COVID-19 outbreak has been declared at a long-term care facility in… Continue reading

The Village of Cumberland and the Cumberland Community Forest Society (CCFS) are offering two new spring break camps, open to children ages eight to 13. Photo supplied
Village and Cumberland Community Forest Society co-hosting spring break camps

Submitted The Village of Cumberland and the Cumberland Community Forest Society (CCFS)… Continue reading

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19 vaccination set to start for B.C. seniors aged 80-plus

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Tofino Resort and Marina has temporarily shut down after several staff members tested positive for COVID-19. (Nora O’Malley photo)
COVID-19 confirmed at Tofino Resort and Marina

Resort apologizes to Hesquiaht First Nation for Valentine’s Day boating incident.

Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hills using a homemade trip camera. Vancouver Island is home to approximately 800 cougars, which makes up about a quarter of the total population in B.C. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hill using a homemade trip camera. Schroyen presents Animal Signs: The Essence of Animal Communication on Nov. 30. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Declining Vancouver Island cougar populations linked to wolves

Large carnivore specialist says human development still plays biggest role on cougar numbers

Police have identified the vehicle involved in the Feb. 14 hit-and-run in Chemainus and are continuing to investigate. (Black Press Media files)
Police seize and identify suspect vehicle in hit-and-run

Investigation into death expected to be lengthy and involved

(Black Press file photo)
Child in critical condition, homicide investigators probe incident near Agassiz

The child was transported to hospital but is not expected to survive

Sewage plant in Lower Mainland, operated by Metro Vancouver. (Metro Vancouver screenshot)
‘Poop tracker’ launches as researchers test Lower Mainland sewage water for COVID-19

‘Studying the virus in wastewater allows researchers to look at an entire population…’

Most Read