Jan 30/98: Interior nations' position on Delgamuukw ruling


January 30, 1998
Vancouver, BC

We the Tsilhqot'in, Southern Carrier, Secwepemc, Stl'atl'imx, Nlaka'pamux and Okanagan Nations have called this press conference to state in solidarity our collective position on the decisions made by the Supreme Court of Canada in Delgamuukw vs. British Columbia.

Historically we have been consistent on the positions taken on Aboriginal Title, Nationhood, the BC Treaty Process, Interim Measures, and plans we have for the long term. We will elaborate on the positions we have taken and initiatives we plan to take to advance our positions in the coming months and years. These are as follows.


We have always known that our Aboriginal Title exists and the Supreme Court of Canada in its decision in Delgamuukw has now confirmed this fact. We are now more committed than ever to ensure that our title is protected, maintained and built upon for our children, grandchildren and all future generations. We are currently in the process discussing all the types of initiatives that we will need to take to ensure that our people enjoy the benefits of the resources that have been denied us for many generations.


We have maintained that the Title that we hold is a Collective Title vested in our Peoples. This has been confirmed by the Delgamuukw decision. Decisions made respecting aboriginal title cannot be made by an individual or individual community. We are presently meeting with our people to develop action plans on initiatives we can take together to exercise the rights that flow from our Title. We are committed to building with our people strong healthy communities that will form a solid foundation for our Nations to take our rightful place within our Homelands.


The BC Treaty Commission process has never been in our view, a legitimate process, but since December 11, 1997 has been confirmed as a result of the Delgamuukw decision to be an illegitimate process that does not conform to the laws of Canada. The Federal Government must take the initiative to suspend the BC Treaty process. This would send a positive signal to us that the government intends to comply with the Supreme Court and deal with us "IN GOOD FAITH" on a Nation to Nation Basis.


The Federal and Provincial Governments must begin to exercise their fiduciary responsibilities and display to us their intent to deal with us "IN GOOD FAITH" by setting up with us all the necessary processes to reform the policies and laws which do not conform with the Delgamuukw decision. We are now in the process fo identifying those places where our Aboriginal Title has been infringed upon so that both levels of government can exercise their fiduciary duties by taking appropriate initiatives to remove these infringements. We, as well, expect to meet with the provincial government to initiate discussions on land, water, forest, environment, parks, archeology etc.


We expect over the long term to become equal with Canada in our Homelands. In this respect, we expect to develop with Canada a Nation to Nation Agreement that reflects how we will co-exist; and with the Province of British Columbia, Management Agreements respecting the Lands and Resources. Our Nations are in the process of developing capacity to manage our Title and rights interests in our Homelands, and will continue to refine our political, economic, social and cultural Institutions to meet these challenges. As well, we expect to be full participants in the economy of Canada as managers of Lands and Resources, owners of businesses, and capable employees in all sectors of the economy.


On behalf of the Peoples of our Six Nations, we want to express our deepest appreciation to the Hereditary Chiefs and the Peoples of Gitksan and Wetsuweten Nations for advancing to the Supreme Court of Canada their case on Aboriginal Title. We acknowledge the advances they have made on behalf of all First Nations in our Homelands across Indian Country in the Americas.

S.I.S.I.S. note: These six colonized nations encompass approximately 270,000 square kilometres of resource rich, unceded, traditional territories, illegally invaded, occupied and despoiled by Canada.


Full text of December 11, 1997 ruling:

Index of Delgamuukw/Gitksan articles, analysis, and commentary:

Background information on Delgamuukw case:

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