Amnesty International Canada and Canadian Friends Service Committee (Quakers) extend our congratulations to the Tsilhqot’in people in their historic victory for the rights of Indigenous peoples.
In an unanimous decision released this morning, the Supreme Court of Canada recognized the right of the Tsilhqot’in people to own, control and enjoy the benefits of approximately 2000km2 of land at the heart of their traditional territory in central British Columbia.
Today’s decision marks the first time that a Canadian court has awarded land ownership to a particular First Nation, rather than relying solely on negotiations between Canada and First Nations to resolve outstanding title disputes. In doing so, the Court also firmly rejected the federal and provincial governments’ position that Indigenous title should be restricted to small tracts of land under continuous, intensive use.
Responding to the decision, the Tsilhqot’in Nation said today, “The Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling ends a long history of denial and sets the stage of recognition of Aboriginal title in its full form.”