Spirit In Action

Change IS coming. WE can make it GOOD.

Leave a comment

Win for ‘Rightful Stewards of the Land’: Canadian Court Sides With First Nations | Common Dreams

Win for ‘Rightful Stewards of the Land’: Canadian Court Sides With First Nations

Ruling marks first time Canadian Supreme Court grants aboriginal land title

– Max Ocean, editorial intern


A First Nations protest At Queen’s Park in Ontario (Credit: Rainforest Action Network/cc/flickr)In a landmark ruling on Thursday with potential implications for the planned Northern Gateway pipeline, Canada’s Supreme Court unanimously granted an aboriginal land title to the Tsilhqot’in First Nation, giving them claim to more than 1,700 square kilometers in British Columbia.

“British Columbia breached its duty to consult owed to the Tsilhqot’in through its land use planning and forestry authorizations,” the 81-page decision (pdf) states.

“I didn’t think it would be so definitive,” said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs. “I was actually prepared for something much less.”

The decision rejected the narrow view of what qualified for protection under aboriginal rights from a 2012 ruling by the B.C. Court of Appeal. While the lower court had said aboriginal groups must be able to prove intensive historical use of a specific site, Thursday’s decision accepts a broader set of criteria particularly important for the Tsilhqot’in, a historically “semi-nomadic” people. Indigenous groups must now prove a looser definition of occupation, continuity of habitation on the land, and exclusivity in an area in order to be granted a title.

“It only took 150 years, but we look forward to a much brighter future,” said Chief Phillip. “This without question will establish a solid platform for genuine reconciliation to take place in British Columbia.”

The ruling will potentially apply to any lands in the country that were never ceded to the crown, including lands which the Northern Gateway pipeline is slated to run through, and many others that have been the sites of development and resource extraction.

“They are the rightful stewards of their lands, and should be the ones to decide if and how they are developed,” said Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians,which intervened in the case in support of the Tsilhqot’in, in a statement released by the group. She stated her optimism that the decision is a sign “that there is no blank cheque for the Northern Gateway project.”

While the Tsilhqot’in are overjoyed with the ruling, there may be some unforeseen negative aspects to it that will still allow for corporate exploitation of aboriginal lands. As the Toronto Starreports:

… [T]he ruling will also be welcomed by industry and governments because the high court says provincial and federal governments may regulate economic activity like forestry on title lands. Lawmakers can do so either by consulting and getting consent of the aboriginal group, or by establishing a pressing and substantial public purpose and ensuring the regulated activity fulfils the Crown’s “fiduciary” duty to act in good faith for the benefit of aboriginal peoples.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.


[Tags Common Dreams,

Leave a comment

Truthout Daily Digest Wednesday, 25 June 2014


A Bitter Harvest: California, Marijuana and the New Jim Crow

Chris Moore-Backman, Truthout: California’s marijuana industry is directly tied to the racial injustices of the system of mass incarceration. In Truthout’s first installment of the radio documentary series, “Bringing Down the New Jim Crow,” Michelle Alexander, a young farmer and two prominent activists talk about how and why.

Read the Transcript and Listen to the Audio

Backing Banks Over Borrowers, California Judges Often Big Stakeholders in Same Banks

Darwin BondGraham, Truthout: Why do individual borrowers so rarely win in cases against banks in spite of the evidence of massive frauds systematically perpetrated by banks? Is there a case for systemic judicial bias?

Read the Article

Target Favelas: The Neoliberal Scramble for World Cup Wealth

Dave Zirin, Haymarket Books: In this excerpt from Brazil’s Dance With the Devil, Zirin describes the history of the poor Rio communities known as favelas, as targets of a real estate land grab. The World Cup and the Olympics are being used as excuses for enriching the few by dislocating many from their communities.

Read the Excerpt

Environment Under Siege in New India

Papri Sri Raman, Truthout: India’s new Bharatiya Janata Party has a pull-out-the-stops development policy that includes targeting environmental and indigenous rights, anti-nuclear and anti-GMO NGOs, as well as investing in dubious hydro projects.

Read the Article

“The Revolution Has Begun”: How the Gun Industry Drives the Violent Rhetoric of the NRA

Christian Exoo and Calvin F. Exoo, Truthout: The violent, anti-authority rhetoric of Jerad and Amanda Miller’s recent Las Vegas shootings is far from an outlier. In fact, it’s the primary message promoted by the gun industry and its political water carrier, the NRA.

Read the Article

Hate Summer? Just Wait Until Global Warming Really Kicks In

The Daily Take Team, The Thom Hartmann Program: A report released on Tuesday by a bipartisan group of scientists and officials says global warming is going to make the weather so hot and humid over the next 80-plus years that going outside in the summer will be pretty much impossible.

Read the Article

Stories Begetting Stories: How Pop Culture Reinforces Abortion Stigma – and Can Help End It

Maya Dusenbery, Feministing: The way pop culture has reinforced abortion stigma extends beyond just the visibility – or lack thereof – of the choice. Not only are they almost absent in films and TV shows, fictional abortions are also frequently portrayed as far riskier than they actually are.

Read the Article

Repressing World Cup Protests – a Booming Business for Brazil

Anna Feigenbaum, Waging Nonviolence: As part of the World Cup’s massive security budget, Rio-based company Condor Nonlethal Technologies scored a $22 million contract, providing tear gas, rubber bullets, Tasers and sound grenades to police and private security forces.

Read the Article

From Genocide to African Catwalks – How Rwandan Women Are Building Their Lives and the Fashion Industry

Amy Fallon, Inter Press Service: Like many in Rwanda, Salaam Uwamariya’s life changed in 1994 when close to a million Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed. Among the dead were her husband and her two eldest children. Yet Uwamariya has been able to slowly rebuild her life by making clothes that have been shown on African catwalks.

Read the Article

To Fix VA Waits, Hire More Staff

Alexandra Bradbury, Labor Notes: The real solutions to the VA’s problems don’t involve privatization. The agency needs to hire more staff and fewer managers, update an antiquated computerized scheduling system, expand facilities where need is growing and reduce missed appointments by offering rides.

Read the Article

A Private Putsch Against Public Schooling

Sam Pizzigati, Too Much: Billionaire political might has come to constitute a clear and present danger to the single most bedrock institution of our democracy: public education.

Read the Article

Glenn Greenwald on Government Snooping: Why It’s Dangerous and What We Can Do About It

Dean Paton, Yes! Magazine: Award-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald, who was one of three reporters to break the Snowden stories, talks about government threats to his reporting, as well as what citizens can do to protect and bolster civil liberties in the digital age.

Read the Interview


The Cruelty of Banning Dissent in the United States

Mark Karlin, BuzzFlash at Truthout: Cruelty in the hands of those who are maliciously ignorant is something to fear – and resist with all one’s might.

Read the BuzzFlash Commentary

Jim Hightower: The Militarization of “Officer Friendly”

Read the Article at BuzzFlash

Supreme Court Rules Cell Phones Cannot Be Searched Without a Warrant

Read the Article at Mother Jones

Pesticides Linked to Bee Deaths Must Be Banned, Scientists Say

Read the Article at CBC News

VA Deaths Covered Up to Make Statistics Look Better, Whistleblower Says

Read the Article at CNN

Federal Judges Rule Against Gay Marriage Bans in Utah and Indiana

Read the Article at The Washington Post

The Next Generation of GMO Crops Has Arrived – and So Has the Controversy

Read the Article at Wired

Judge: No-Fly List Violates Constitutional Rights

Read the Article at The Associated Press