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Feb 13, 2020
Delgamuukw vs. British Columbia underscores First Nations’ authority over their land
Amid the backdrop of nationwide protests, blockades, and arrests, Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs on the front lines of the fight to stop a pipeline in their traditional territories are pointing to a Supreme Court case from the 1990s that underscores their authority over the land.
The decision in Delgamuukw vs. British Columbia was delivered on Dec. 11, 1997, affirming Aboriginal land title and setting a precedent for how it is understood in Canadian courts.
“The Supreme Court established that Wet’suwet’en had never extinguished title to our territories,” said Molly Wickham, a governance director at the Office of the Wet’suwet’en, on CBC’s The Early Edition. “Within Western law, they have acknowledged that we still have title to our territories — and this is an issue about title.”
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