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.”

 

Just Posted

The end of an Echo

Invermere Valley Echo shuts down operations in Columbia Valley

Creating a new narrative for Canal Flats

Economic development consultant hired, lists vision for next 90 days

UPDATE: Crews battle as wildfires rage in B.C. Interior

Crews brace for another day on B.C. firelines as no let up is likely

VIDEO: B.C. wildfires by the numbers

Wildfires continue to engulf regions of B.C.’s forests and communities.

VIDEO: More than 180 wildfires burning across B.C.

Firefighters from other provinces called in to assist

DTSS Grad March 2017

DTSS Grad March 2017

59 cats seized in Chase

59 neglected and injured cats were seized from a property in Chase

Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell dead at age 52

The singer/songwriter passed away early Thursday morning in Detroit

Paying tribute to a primeval passage

Uninterrupted celebrates the Adams River sockeye run in an extraordinary way.

UPDATE: Pemberton Music Festival cancelled, no automatic refunds

In the past, the music festival located in Pemberton drew large crowds last year of 180,000 fans

Medical wait times cost B.C. patients $2,300 each

New Fraser Institute report places B.C. at second worst in costs associated with long wait times

UPDATE: 22 killed at Ariana Grande concert

Witnesses reported hearing two loud bangs coming from near the arena’s bars at about 10:35 p.m.

One in three Canadian high school students have rode with drinking drivers, study reveals

Nearly one in five rode with a driver who’d been smoking pot

Top court to hear federal government’s appeal on residential school records

A lower court judge ruled to destroy the stories after 15 years unless consent is given to preserve

Most Read