OTTAWA, May 19 /CNW/ - Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief
Shawn A-in-chut Atleo today stated that he is pleased with a decision
by the BC Court of Appeal that affirms the right of five Nuu-chah-nulth
First Nations to harvest and sell fish in their traditional
"This is the right decision because it upholds and affirms First Nations
rights," said National Chief Atleo. "I congratulate the Nuu-chah-nulth
for persevering in the exercise of their rights and, in doing so,
encouraging other First Nations peoples to exercise their rights."
The decision by the BC Court of Appeal - Ahousaht Indian Band and Nation
v. Canada - upheld an earlier decision by the BC Supreme Court that
recognized the right of the Nuu-chah-nulth to harvest and sell fish in
their traditional territories. In reviewing all the evidence, the
Court of Appeal agreed with the original judge's findings that there
was significant intertribal trade in early times at and before contact
in fisheries products on the coast and across Vancouver Island by the
ancestors of the Nuu-chah-nulth.
BC Regional Chief Jody Wilson-Raybould also extended congratulations to
the Nuu-chah-nulth people. "This is a win celebrated by all our
Nations," said Regional Chief Wilson-Raybould. "Our communities are in
an important period of Nation building and fair access to land and
resources is essential to ensure our long-term future. It is incumbent
upon the Crown to respect our rights and uphold the decision of the
court, working with our Nations to implement its direction."
The Court of Appeal also agreed that Canada's management of the
fisheries has not respected the Nuu-chah-nulth's Aboriginal rights and
has given the parties one year to design a fishery that is consistent
with these rights.
"This case shows that First Nations rights are a central part of our
ability to build our economies, strengthen our people and nations and
unlock our full potential," stated the National Chief. "This decision
is timely because we are setting to work on a robust agenda with the
new government and understanding the connection between First Nations
rights and First Nations quality of life is essential."
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing
First Nations citizens in Canada. National Chief Atleo and AFN are on
Twitter. Follow us @NCAtleo @AFN_Updates @AFN_Comms.
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