Aboriginal (Land) Title

Information on this page relates most to Idle No More Manitoba themes:

5 - history             5 - advocacy       3 - legislation

What is “Aboriginal Title”?

The following links all provide information explaining the concept of Aboriginal Title. A lot of the information overlaps, but each piece comes from a different source and the pieces are different lengths and go into different levels of detail.

This short blog post by the Olthuis Kleer Townsend law firm (they specialize in Indigenous legal issues) gives a really clear explanation of Aboriginal Title.  They explain that Aboriginal Title is the legal idea that recognizes the land rights of Indigenous peoples in Canada.  They also point out that Aboriginal Title goes back as far as the Royal Proclamation of 1763 that promised the right for Indigenous peoples to live on and use their land.

Aboriginal Title
This page from the University of British Columbia gives another clear explanation of Aboriginal Title and its history.  There is also a useful list of the major court cases that have dealt with Aboriginal Title.

Aboriginal title is based in history (updated to 2010)
This page from the federal government provides a longer explanation of Aboriginal Title, including the important Calder case (1973) that recognized Aboriginal Title as part of Canadian common law.

Aboriginal Rights and Title
This 3-page document from the Office of the Treaty Commissioner (Saskatchewan) does a good job of explaining what Aboriginal Title is and gives you a short description of the major court cases that have dealt with Aboriginal Title.

The Royal Proclamation, 1763

The Royal Proclamation laid out guidelines (according to the British Crown) for how Indigenous peoples lands were to be settled by Europeans.  This page from the University of British Columbia does a good job of explaining the Royal Proclamation and lets you read the part of the document that talk about Indigenous peoples rights to the land.

A key piece of the Royal Proclamation is that it stated that all land is Indigenous land unless ceded through a treaty.  Because of this, the Royal Proclamation is considered to be an important document when talking about Aboriginal Title.

Major Court Cases About Aboriginal Title

The Canadian courts have dealt with the question of Aboriginal Title a number of times.  Here are links to some of the major cases.

St. Catherine’s Milling and Lumber Co. v the Queen 1888 (full text of the decision)
Here is a clear explanation of the case (see the very beginning of the link. The full text of the decision is repeated afterward.)

Calder v. British Columbia (Attorney General) 1973  (full text of the decision) 
Here is a clear explanation about the case.

R v Guerin
1984  (full text of the decision) 
Here is a clear explanation about the case.

Delgamuukw
v British Columbia 1997
(full text of the decision) 
Here is a clear explanation about the case.

More major cases
If you are interested in learning about other court cases, this list from the University of Toronto libraries is a good place to start your search (you will find many lists online!).  The cases in the list deal with Aboriginal Title, as well as treaty and other rights.

 

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One thought on “Aboriginal (Land) Title

  1. Pingback: “LEARN” from Idle No More Manitoba | Idle No More Manitoba

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