I don’t know if this has been news in Canada but the front page of the Globe and Mail on Friday read, “Historic Ruling Upholds Land Rights”. The subheading was “Supreme Court decision recongnizes existence of aboriginal title, opening a new era in native relations with government.
The National Post was a bit more to the point: Supreme Court B.C. land-claim ruling has staggering implications for Canadian resource projects. All this will be familiar back home, but from the story:
Written by Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, the unanimous ruling says that aboriginal title “flows from occupation in the sense of regular and exclusive use of land … Occupation sufficient to ground aboriginal title is not confined to specific sites of settlement, but extends to tracts of land that were regularly used for hunting, fishing or otherwise exploiting resources and over which the group exercised effective control at the time of assertion of European sovereignty.”
It means that economic development proposed by non-aboriginals — such as resource extraction and pipeline activity — requires explicit consent from host First Nations on land where the Supreme Court’s expanded concept of land title is established.
Let justice be done, as they say, though the heavens may fall.