Amnesty International Canada and Canadian Friends Service Committee
Open Letter to the Premier of British Columbia
Tsilhqot’in decision provides a framework for a principled and respectful relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples
Dear Premier Christy Clark,
In Tsilhqot’in Nation v. British Columbia, the Supreme Court recognized the Tsilhqot’in Nation’s ownership of title land in its traditional territory. This decision provides a crucial opportunity to re-frame the relationship between First Nations and the province of British Columbia.
The Tsilhqot’in situation is not unique. The legal principles informing the Court’s unanimous ruling in the Tsilhqot’in case are widely applicable and should be adopted as part of a just and principled framework for the long overdue recognition of Indigenous land rights in BC.
Toward this end, our organizations would like to draw your attention to these conclusions of the Supreme Court:
Our organizations made a joint intervention in the Tsilhqot’in title case because we believed that the outcome would have profound importance for Indigenous peoples throughout Canada. In our view, the Court’s decision provides a principled framework for fulfilling the Constitutional promise of recognition of Aboriginal land title. Further, the framework set out by the Court includes key elements that are consistent with international human rights law.
On the eve of your historic meeting with Chiefs of British Columbia, we urge your government to publicly commit to fully upholding the Tsilhqot’in decision in the spirit of harmonious relations, mutual co-operation and respect for Aboriginal title and governance.