This summer the Supreme Court of Canada made a historic ruling that the Tsilhqot’in Indigenous nation in British Columbia holds Aboriginal title to its traditional territory and ensures that First Nations with title have decision-making power. If this court decision can be implemented on the ground, it offers a chance to create a radically more just country. But the Harper government is denying this new reality: in order to push through their tar sands pipelines and resource extraction projects, they are trying instead to accelerate the elimination of Aboriginal rights. In response to the Tsilhqot’in decision, Harper has quietly introduced a newly revised policy to undermine and negate the Indigenous land rights that stand in the way of his agenda.
We can’t let this happen. Honouring Indigenous jurisdiction would not just pay off Canada’s enormous legal and moral debt to First Nations: it is also our best chance to save entire territories from endless extraction and environmental destruction. Canada can seize the opportunity at this historic crossroad, but only if we build massive pressure on the Canadian government to finally recognize and affirm Aboriginal title.
Join Defenders of the Land and Idle No More in putting forward 4 demands to challenge the current land claims reform process:
- Disengagement of negotiating bands from the Termination Tables and forgiveness for all loans taken out to finance the process;
- A fundamental and joint reform of both the Comprehensive Land Claims and Self-Government policies with duly mandated representatives of Indigenous peoples, with the aim of making the policies consistent with both Canadian law on Aboriginal title, Aboriginal rights, treaty rights and inherent Indigenous laws of jurisdiction;
- Federal and provincial governments must provide funding grants to Indigenous peoples for negotiation processes;
- Absolute rejection of the unilaterally imposed Eyford consultation process.