A photo from 2017, of Nuchatlaht First Nation members outside court after filing a land title case in B.C. ( Submitted photo/Nuchatlaht First Nation).

A photo from 2017, of Nuchatlaht First Nation members outside court after filing a land title case in B.C. ( Submitted photo/Nuchatlaht First Nation).

Vancouver Island First Nation calls on B.C. to honour UNDRIP in historic title case

Nuchatlaht First Nation says Crown counsel continues to stall the case using the ‘distasteful’ argument that the Nation ‘abandoned’ their land

Almost a year into B.C. adopting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) the Nuchatlaht First Nation (NFN) is calling on the province to honour its legislation with regards to an ongoing land title case.

The Nuchatlaht called on Premier John Horgan, Attorney General David Eby and the newly appointed cabinet ministers to “correct the long-standing government policy that Nuchatlaht abandoned their territory,” to abide by legislation to uphold the UNDRIP, and to drop its legal argument.

Since Jan. 2017, NFN has been legally pursuing a land claim for territory including Nootka Island, along the northwest coast of Vancouver Island.

“British Columbia’s lawyers have stalled the case by raising absurd—and expensive—arguments that the Nation abandoned their territory in an effort to disprove continuous use of the land,” read the statement.

Nuchatlaht house speaker, Archie Little told the Mirror that “the case is a classic example of how the province does not understand how our chiefs owned and operated the land.”

NFN’s chief (Tyee Ha’wiih) Jordan Michael’s lineage can be traced back to the 1700’s, said Little, adding that their ancestors have owned the land for thousands of years. The nation claims it was forced out of its traditional territory on Nootka Island, and the land was licensed by the province to logging companies without the consent of the First Nation. Western Forest Products runs its operations there now.

“British Columbia is trying to silence the Nuchatlaht Nation so that it can do whatever it wants to our land,” said Michael and added,“We will not be silent while our cultural sites are destroyed, salmon creeks are degraded, and old growth forests are clearcut.”

The Nation issued the statement in response to Horgan’s new cabinet, sworn in yesterday, which includes a new Minister for Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, Murray Rankin.

READ MORE:Horgan names 20-member cabinet with same pandemic team

After taking office yesterday, Rankin also tweeted yesterday about the significance of being sworn in on the anniversary of Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act passed in B.C. in Nov. 26, 2019.

“There’s a great deal of work ahead in order to move reconciliation forward. As a first step, we’ll be establishing a Secretariat, in consultation and cooperation with Indigenous peoples, in order to ensure that new legislation and policies are consistent with the UN Declaration,” said Rankin in a tweet.

With Rankin’s appointment to the cabinet, and Horgan emphasizing on the importance of relationship between First Nations and the province, NFN wants to bring to light this historic case once again before the province, said Little.

“We have some hope that they will do the right by us, correct their ways and understand where we’re coming from,” said Little.

NFN’s attorney, Jack Woodward, said the province “now has an opportunity to advance the project of reconciliation by giving new instructions to Crown counsel to put aside the distasteful defense of abandonment used by previous administrations against First Nations.”

“Now is the time to build on the promises made in UNDRIP, which were adopted as part of B.C. law in 2019,” said Woodward in the statement.

First NationsUNDRIP

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Emma Nunn from Alberni Valley Rescue Squad waits at the summit of Mount Arrowsmith for the rest of the AVRS rope rescue team on Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021. (PHOTO COURTESY DAVE POULSEN, AVRS)
UPDATE: Injured hikers among three rescued in the dark from Mount Arrowsmith

‘It was a very bad, very precarious spot to be able to locate them’

Parksville Fire Department crews attended the scene of a house fire on Monday, Jan. 18, 2021 at the end of Foster Place in Parksville. No injuries were reported. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Fire crews called to battle house fire in Parksville

No injuries reported, kitty rescued

Kim Burden, executive director of the Parksville and District and Qualicum Beach Chambers of Commerce. (PQB News photo)
PQBeat: Chamber of Commerce executive director Kim Burden looks ahead

Podcast: Talk includes 2021 business plans in Parksville, Qualicum Beach, events and more

The Village Way and Highway 19A roundabout is the Town of Qualicum Beach priority for a grant application. (Google Map)
Qualicum Beach council favours roundabout over turf field project

Mayor believes road project has better chance of landing grant

Curling season is over at the Parksville Curling Club and Qualicum Beach Curling Club. (PQB News file photo)
COVID-19: Parksville and Qualicum Beach curling clubs forced to end season

Restrictions impact financial sustainability of both operations

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

A female prisoner sent Langford police officers a thank-you card after she spent days in their custody. (Twitter/West Shore RCMP)
Woman gives Victoria-area jail 4.5-star review in handwritten card to police after arrest

‘We don’t often get thank you cards from people who stay with us, but this was sure nice to see’: RCMP

An elk got his antlers caught up in a zip line in Youbou over the weekend. (Conservation Officer Service Photo)
Elk rescued from zip line in Youbou on Vancouver Island

Officials urge people to manage items on their property that can hurt animals

A Trail man has a lucky tin for a keepsake after it saved him from a stabbing last week. File photo
Small tin in Kootenay man’s jacket pocket saved him from stabbing: RCMP

The man was uninjured thanks to a tin in his jacket

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Chantel Moore, 26, was fatally shot by a police officer during a wellness check in the early morning of June 4, 2020, in Edmundston, N.B. (Facebook)
Frustrated family denied access to B.C. Indigenous woman’s police shooting report

Independent investigation into B.C. woman’s fatal shooting in New Brunswick filed to Crown

Delta Police Constable Jason Martens and Dezi, a nine-year-old German Shepherd that recently retired after 10 years with Delta Police. (Photo submitted)
Dezi, a Delta police dog, retires on a high note after decade of service

Nine-year-old German Shepherd now fights over toys instead of chasing down bad guys

Nurses collect samples from a patient in a COVID suspect room in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver, Tuesday, April 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
5 British Columbians under 20 years old battled COVID-19 in ICU in recent weeks

Overall hospitalizations have fallen but young people battling the virus in hospital has increased

Canada released proposed regulations Jan. 2 for the fisheries minister to maintain Canada’s major fish stocks at sustainable levels and recover those at risk. (File photo)
New laws would cement DFO accountability to depleted fish stocks

Three B.C. salmon stocks first in line for priority attention under proposed regulations

Trees destroyed a Shoreacres home during a wind storm Jan. 13, 2021. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay woman flees just before tree crushes house

Pamala DeRosa is thankful to be alive

Most Read