Jan 30/98: Interior nations' position on Delgamuukw ruling
TSILQOT'IN, SOUTHERN CARRIER, SECWEPEMC, STL'ATL'MX, NLAKA'PAMUX AND OKANAGAN NATIONS: PRESS STATEMENT
January 30, 1998
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
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.
LONG TERM ARRANGEMENTS
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
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.
MORE INFORMATION ON DELGAMUUKW
Full text of December 11, 1997 ruling:
Index of Delgamuukw/Gitksan articles, analysis, and commentary:
Background information on Delgamuukw case: