SECHELT, BC, July 28, 2014 /CNW/ - shíshálh First Nation accepts the game-changing decision of the Supreme Court of Canada that recognized the Aboriginal Title of the Tsilhqot'in Nation over 1700 square kilometres of central British Columbia. The decision represents the first time a Court has declared Aboriginal Title, and confirmed that where Title exists the First Nation effectively owns the land, and the Crown and third parties cannot do things on that land without the consent of the First Nation.
"shíshálh applauds the Tsilhqot'in People for maintaining their long struggle to have their Title recognized. The result they achieved is of great significance to all First Nations. It shows that our Title is real and meaningful, and that it exists over large areas," said Chief Craigan.
The shíshálh First Nation has been advancing litigation seeking a declaration of Title to shíshálh Territory. shíshálh's preparation of its title case is well advanced, and reflects the strong evidence of shíshálh Title. "Our litigation is well advanced, and gains major momentum as a result of the Tsilqhot'in victory. The case reinforces the perspective on our Title that we have advanced, which is grounded in recognizing how our way of life and culture is connected in vital and real ways to the lands and resources throughout our Territory. Our efforts to move that case forward are now intensifying," said Chief Craigan.
The shíshálh First Nation has been making clear for a number of years that activities the Crown is undertaking and authorizing have been unjustified infringements of shíshálh Title that have caused major impacts. One of the most notable examples is Pender Harbour (kálpilín), which is located at the heart of the historically most populous region in the territory, this area was the site of the main winter villages of the shíshálh people. The proliferation of moorages, amongst other things, has resulted in major damage to cultural heritage sites, fisheries, and other vital resources. "We have been trying for years to resolve issues at Pender Harbour, and on multiple times we have thought we were close to resolution only to see the Province change course at the 12th hour. The Tsilqhot'in case makes it clear that in areas such as Pender Harbour where the Province has clear evidence of our Title interests they cannot and must not continue to act as they have been. We expect to see real change in Provincial conduct, and a real resolution to issues such as Pender Harbour move forward," added Chief Craigan.
Image with caption: "shíshálh first nation (CNW Group/Sechelt Indian Band)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140728_C1930_PHOTO_EN_4490.jpg
SOURCE: Sechelt Indian Band
For further information: Chief Calvin Craigan at 604-885-2273; firstname.lastname@example.org