Supreme Court’s Tsilhqot’in First Nation ruling a game-changer for all

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A case of ‘national importance’ empowers First Nations, but may complicate big resource projects

By Amber Hildebrandt, CBC News Posted: Jun 27, 2014 5:00 AM ET Last Updated: Jun 27, 2014 7:11 AM ET

“The Supreme Court decision on Thursday granting the land claim of a B.C. First Nation is not only a game-changer for many aboriginal communities across the country, but also for the government and the resource industries.

The unanimous ruling granted the Tsilhqot’in First Nation title to a 1,700-square-kilometre area of traditional land outside its reserve, marking the end of a decades-long battle.

But it also clarified major issues such as how to prove aboriginal title and when consent is required from aboriginal groups, which will affect negotiations on major projects such as the Northern Gateway pipeline.

The traditional territory in question is located to the south and west of Williams Lake and Alexis Creek in B.C.’s Interior. (CBC)

“This is a case of national significance and national importance, bulletproof in its legal reasoning,” says Bill Gallagher, a former treaty rights negotiator and author of Resource Rulers.”

 

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