B.C. First Nation has no right to title on land but can still hunt: appeal court - InfoNews

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B.C. First Nation has no right to title on land but can still hunt: appeal court

Vancouver Police look on as members of the Tsilhqot'in national government protest a proposed mine in their territory outside the Taseko headquarters in Vancouver, B.C. on June 1, 2012. The B.C. Court of Appeal has upheld a ruling that found a First Nation has no claim to aboriginal title in their territorial land but nonetheless has the right to hunt and trade in the area.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
June 27, 2012 - 2:40 PM

VANCOUVER - The B.C. Court of Appeal has upheld a ruling that found a First Nation has no claim to aboriginal title in their territorial land but nonetheless has the right to hunt and trade in the area.

The case between the Tsilhqot’in (sill-koh-teen) First Nation and the provincial and federal governments was prompted by logging activity in B.C.'s central Interior, and has been making its way through the courts for more than 20 years.

The First Nation, whose territory is near Williams Lake, B.C., claimed aboriginal title to two areas it considered its traditional land and argued its people should have first right of refusal over logging.

The B.C. Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that the Tsilhqot’in did not have aboriginal title over the entire area, but the court also said the Tsilhqot’in had rights to hunt and to trade skins and pelts to support a "moderate livelihood."

The First Nation, the provincial government and Ottawa all appealed the ruling, but a three-judge Appeal Court panel dismissed all of the appeals, upholding the original ruling in its entirely.

The Appeal Court judgment also upheld the original judge's conclusion that forestry activities in the area infringe on the First Nation's rights because they negatively affect the community's ability to hunt and trap.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2012
The Canadian Press

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