How the Province of British Columbia got its name

How the Province of British Columbia got its name

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January 10, 2009

In this short clip, Jack Woodward, of the Victoria-based law firm Woodward & Company, talks about something you probably never learned in school: how Canada’s most western province came to be known as “British Columbia”.

If you’re aware of the BC Treaty process and the ongoing land theft taking place in the region, not to mention the endless stream of token gestures from the government, the answer will come as no surprise to you.

The clip itself is from a 40-minute interview with Jack Woodward, in which he examines “Tsilhqot’in Nation v. BC”, a landmark ruling in 2007 that affirmed the “undeniable existence of ancestral title and rights for BC’s indigenous peoples over their traditional territories.” Woodward served as Lead Counsel in the case.

The interview was conducted by the Save Our Rivers Society in December 2008. Here’s a synopsis from their website:

“One of Canada’s foremost experts on aboriginal law, Jack Woodward, of Victoria-based Woodward & Company, discusses the groundbreaking victory at the BC Supreme Court by the Chilcotin Nation, and the ramifications of this precedent on future resource extraction in BC (especially private river power). The Chilcotin case, for which Woodward served as Lead Counsel over a record-setting 18-year hearing, further established the undeniable existence of ancestral title and rights for BC’s indigenous peoples over their traditional territories. As Mr. Woodward explains, this precedent has major implications for the Campbell Government’s private river power “gold rush.” The interview provides a fascinating look at BC history in this, the 150th year since the colonization of our province – formerly referred to as “the Indian Territories” – due to the first gold rush, in the 1850’s. Mr. Woodward notes that not much has changed with today’s liquid gold rush to privatize BC’s rivers and energy – as little respect is still being shown for the proper negotiating authorities and protocols, customs, heritage, natural food supply, and environment of the First Nations on whose land the vast majority of these private power projects are situated or proposed.

Watch the full interview at

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