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Ken Coates is the Distinguished Senior Fellow with Macdonald-Laurier Institute and a Canada Research Chair in Regional Innovation at the University of Saskatchewan.
The Nuchatlaht First Nation and Nootka Sound, on Vancouver Island’s west coast, figure prominently in Canadian history. It’s where, in 1774, Spanish explorers first contacted First Nations on the West Coast. Four years later, British explorer Captain James Cook reached the area. And, ever since, the region has been a contested territory among various claimants.
This spring, in the B.C. Supreme Court, the Nuchatlaht are suing the British Columbia government for full title and ownership of about 200 square kilometres of the Nootka region that is categorized as Crown land. This legal showdown could set the standard for Indigenous land-claim rulings across Canada.
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