Thursday, 16 February 2017

Respect for Aboriginal Lands Built Into Canadian Constitution

Respect for First Nations has been built into Canada since its inception.

In this excerpt from a recent video on the Indian Act, Jack Woodward Lawyer offers insight on the history of First Nations land law.

There are couple of things in the Indian Act that are continuations of the policy that was laid down in the Royal Proclamation of 1763. Now, the Royal Proclamation of 1763 is the original constitution of Canada. It set up a country that was based on certain fundamental principles. Right there in the Royal Proclamation of 1763 is the principle of democracy, the principle of the Rule of Law, and, very importantly, respect for the lands of the Aboriginal peoples. So a lot of Canadians don’t realize that one of the fundamental points of the Canadian constitution going right back over 250 years, is respect for Aboriginal lands. It’s right there at the heart of the constitution.

Now, that principle of what’s called inalienability - you cannot alienate Aboriginal lands - that principle was carried from the Royal Proclamation into the Indian Act, so there’s certain essential clauses of the Indian Act that say Indian lands that — in the context of the Indian Act, we’re talking about Indian reserve lands — Indian reserve lands cannot be sold or alienated without the full consent of the First Nations. And that has resulted that these tiny parcels of land are nevertheless still in Aboriginal ownership often 100 or 150 years after the reserve lands were set aside. Now, if the Indian Act was simply abolished, one question that comes up is whether those remnants from the Royal Proclamation of 1763 would also be abolished.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Nuchatlaht Land Title Case: Researching Deeper Than Media Hits

Several media outlets have covered the new aboriginal-title case filed by the Nuchatlaht First Nation. In their news stories, media give quick-hitter highlights about the case. If you really want to get up to speed on what is happening, reading the Notice of Claim that has been filed is the best place to start.

Jack Woodward Lawyer recently posted that document. It has all the details about the case. If you've read legal documents before, this will be a breeze.

Friday, 10 February 2017

Jack Woodward Lawyer: Nuchatlaht Case About Legal Rights and Inheritance

The Nuchatlaht are the latest First Nation to take the government to court over legal title to hereditary land.

The amount of media coverage that has surrounded the announcement of this case, underscores its importance.

Jack Woodward lawyer, representing the Nuchalaht call the aboriginal-title claim historic. He says it is the first application of the precedent-setting Tsilhqot’in Supreme Court decision.

Simply put, Jack Woodward lawyer says this is about legal inheritance: “All other Canadians expect that if they’re left land in a will, if their ancestors owned something, then they’re entitled to own it. These people have been denied that and this is an attempt to rectify the situation.”

Monday, 6 February 2017

Aboriginal-Title Claims Could Have Significant Impact on BC

News that the Nuchatlaht First Nation has launched a civil aboriginal-title claim against the B.C. and Canada governments has important implications on British Columbia.

Lawyer Troy Hunter highlights the changes that occur where aboriginal title is recognized, like in the 2014 Tsilhqot’in law suit.
"In cases where aboriginal title is recognized, the province has no jurisdiction, and consent of First Nations is required for resource development as set out in the 2014 Tsilhqot’in Supreme Court of Canada decision. Approval of major projects, such as pipelines, require the consent of First Nations in any location where aboriginal title is established and absent consent, damages are to be paid to the proper rights-holders, unless there is a compelling and substantial public interest objective with a reconciliation goal that balances the interests of First Nations and the broader public."
As you can see, land interest claims can have a significant impact not only on corporate and business interests in BC, but also on individual interests.

Read the full story here:

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Jack Woodward Lawyer: The Nuchatlaht Case is 'Historic'

In its recent article on the Nuchatlaht Aboriginal-title claim, the CBC offered insight in why this legal case is considered "historic."

Jack Woodward lawyer, representing the Nuchatlaht explains what makes this case so noteworthy. According to Woodward, it is the first case to follow in the footsteps of the precedent-setting Tsilhqot'in Supreme Court decision in 2014 (a case that Woodward also led). The Nuchatlaht are directly applying that decision in their case against the government.

As Woodward says, "they are entitled under Canadian under Canadian law to inherit the lands that their grandparents owned and this is simply a claim to enforce that."

And, in case you were wondering, there other First Nations working on similar Aboriginal-title claims.

Catch the full story here:

Monday, 30 January 2017

Jack Woodward Leading Nuchatlaht Aboriginal-Title Claim in B.C.

In a recent Aboriginal-title claim filed against the federal and British Columbia provincial governments, the Nuchatlaht First Nation asserts is has been unable to use and manage their resources sustainably as a result of government interference.

The law suit seeks the governments to recognize aboriginal title to the Nuchatlaht’s territory on the west coast of Vancouver Island and to the elimination of Western Forest Products logging in the region.

Representing Nuchatlaht, Jack Woodward lawyer said: “The land has been devastated by logging. You know how [the Islamic State] recently destroyed Palmyra? This is the same. The [culturally modified] trees that are an archeological record have been trashed right before their eyes.” 

The province is currently gathering information on the case. Stay tuned for further details.

Friday, 20 January 2017

Diving Into the Complex Area of Aboriginal Land Interests in Canada

Curious about Aboriginal law in Canada? You better pack a big lunch, because it's a complicated process.

For those who are interested in learning more about Aboriginal land and treaties rights, I've written an article listing out 16 different types of land interests. Like I said, it's a complex arena. That being said, most lawyers and notaries will likely only engage in two or three categories.

Here's the article:

Jack Woodward, Lawyer: 16 types of Aboriginal Interests in Land that May Be Encountered by Lawyers and Notaries in BC