Canadian Anthropology Society (CASCA)
Association for Political and Legal Anthropology
Cosponsored - Oral Presentation Session
In June 2014, the Supreme Court of Canada recognised Aboriginal title to 1,700 square kilometres of Tsilhqot'in territory for the first time in Canadian history. This case, called Tsilhqot’in Nation v. British Columbia, was originally filed by the Tsilhqot'in in the 1980s in an effort to stop logging in their territory. The shift to a focus on the assertion of Aboriginal title came later. While the trial was long, lasting more than 300 days spanning five years, the decision has become a leading case for recognising Aboriginal title. Based on this recognised Aboriginal title, the Tsilhqot'in Nation has worked on its transitional process to full Tsilhqot'in management of the land. Notably, clarifying their role as caretakers of the land, they attempt to develop a management structure of their territory that respects Tsilhqot'in values and reflects the principle of free, prior, and informed consent. For example, in February 2016, the Tsilhqot'in Nation signed an agreement called Nenqay Deni Accord, a five-year framework for discussions between British Columbia and the Tsilhqot'in Nation, to advance and achieve a lasting reconciliation for Tsilhqot’in peoples. In this presentation, by exploring the processes of recognising and implementing the Tsilhqot'in title, I will consider the implications and challenges of Aboriginal title for reconciliation and decolonisation.