OTTAWA, Nov. 5, 2013 /CNW/ - ssembly of First Nations (AFN) National
Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo and First Nations leaders today welcomed
the Tsilhqot'in delegation that arrived in Ottawa in advance of
Thursday's hearing of the William case by the Supreme Court of Canada.
The Tsilhqot'in Nation is seeking recognition and affirmation of
inherent Indigenous title to their lands and territories in one of the
most important Aboriginal rights cases in decades.
"It is an honour to welcome the Tsilhqot'in delegation who has travelled
across this country to challenge the denial of their rights," said
National Chief Atleo. "They are fighting the same battle as many other
First Nations, the battle for recognition and implementation of their
rights and title essential to their Nations and essential to justice,
progress and prosperity. This case will have implications for First
Nations and Canadians across the country and this is why the AFN is
standing with the Tsilhqot'in and actively serving as an intervenor in
More than two decades ago, the Tsilhqot'in Nation in British Columbia
(BC) started direct action and legal action to gain recognition from
Canada of their Aboriginal title and rights to their land. In a major
precedent-setting decision in November 2007, the BC Supreme Court ruled
that the Tsilhqot'in had proven Aboriginal title to approximately
200,000 square hectares (about half of the claim area) in and around
the remote Nemiah Valley, south and west of Williams Lake, BC.
In June 2012, the BC Court of Appeal overturned the BC Supreme Court's
ruling. On September 24, 2012 Roger William and the Tsilhqot'in Nation
sought leave to appeal the BC Court of Appeal's decision which was
granted by the Supreme Court of Canada. AFN was also granted
intervention status for the Supreme Court of Canada hearing of appeal.
Today, the National Chief greeted the arrival of the Indigenous Land
Title Express: Tsilhqot'in Journey for Justice, a group of Elders,
citizens and supporters of the Tsilhqot'in Nation who travelled from
their home territory in BC to Ottawa.
National Chief Atleo stated: "As First Nations, we depend on our lands
and traditional territories for our very survival - for food, for
medicine, for our culture, heritage and our very identity. The William
case is about putting the final nail in the coffin of the doctrine of
"discovery" and the myth of terra nullius. It is about affirming
recognition as essential to unlocking the clear processes to re-build
the success of our Nations, our lands and our livelihoods. This is
about ensuring a better future for our peoples. Today, all First
Nations stand with the Tsilhqot'in Nation for the full recognition and
implementation of their rights and title."
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing
First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Comms,
SOURCE: Assembly of First Nations
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