In the Gitksan-Wet'suwet'en land claim case the natives sued the provincial government in the non-native court. By taking that crucial step, those native people placed in the hands of the non-native judges the power to decide the conflict between the native and non-native societies. In contrast, in the Lil'wat sovereignty case, the natives blocked the road and forced the provincial government to sue them. Then, when the provincial government sued, the Lil'wats took the position that the non-native courts have no jurisdiction to decide. Rather, they said the issue had already been decided by their own peoples' court. Furthermore, they said that the non-native governments and courts are constitutionally obliged to respect the - native peoples' decision. In sum, the non-native courts do not lawfully enjoy the jurisdiction to decide the question of existing aboriginal rights since that question has already been decided and confirmed constitutionally in the natives' favour.
The problem now is that the non-native legal fraternity-- the non native lawyers and judges--are conspiring to push the Gitksan-Wet'suwet'en case forward, and to hold the Lil'wat sovereignty case back. If they are successful in this tactic they will establish a precedent that effectively buries native sovereignty for all native, people. By agreeing to relinquish the decision-making power to the non-native courts the Gitksan-Wet'suwet'en correspondingly relinquished the pre-existing sovereignty of the native nations to decide for themselves. The Lil'wat sovereigntists believe that the Gitksan-Wet'suwet'en people did not intend to relinquish their sovereignty, but rather to protect it. Unfortunately, the Gitksan-Wet'suwet'en people received criminally negligent legal advice, and followed it. They are still following it, even after the Lil'wats successfully predicted the outcome and identified the reasons for the decision of non-native chief Justice McEachern before it was made. The non-native lawyers advising both the Gitksan-Wet'suwet'en people and the other natives now intervening in the Gitksan-Wet'suwet'en appeal are not willing to go for sovereignty. Instead they are pushing ahead with the full cooperation of the whole non-native legal fraternity, to employ the unconstitutional power of the non-native courts to try to obtain more limited favours.
The difference with the Lil'Wat situation is that they have identified the constitutional law precedents and sections that prove that native sovereignty is a constitutionally protected liberty in British. Columbia. The Lil'wat sovereigntists have recently delivered court papers that document the conspiracy of the non-native institutions of law and government to commit a massive fraud. For native society the saddest aspect is the extent. to which the native leadership is collaborating in the fraud. For non-native society the tragedy is the trashing of the rule of law. Any legitimate claim to the integrity in the administration of justice is being compromised. This is the legacy that is being written for our generations yet unborn, of both races.
TSEMHU7QW (a.k.a. Harold Pascal)
July 23, 1991
LIL'WAT PEOPLES MOVEMENT
Mount Currie, Lil'wat Territory