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HomeNewsWilliams LakeSupreme Court of Canada Upholds Williams Lake Indian Band's Pre-Confederation Claim

Supreme Court of Canada Upholds Williams Lake Indian Band’s Pre-Confederation Claim

The Supreme Court of Canada restored a 2014 tribunal ruling Friday in favor of the Williams Lake Band.

The Band was seeking to establish a statutory specific claim and obtain compensation for losses of land within its traditional territory pre-empted by settlers before Confederation.

Chief Anne Louie says that she is very happy of the decision.

“The Williams Lake Band for over 150 years with our original Chief William and our Elders have been saying that we were unlawfully pushed off our village lands,” she says.

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“All Canadians should be applauding this decision because its’ justified a terrible wrong against First Nations and Indigenous people that has been acknowledged and it also puts faith back in the Tribunal Act.”

Chief Louie notes that the Band’s claim seeking a resolution started in 1993 and that it was heard in 2014 being overturned by the federal court in 2016.

The case was appealed and heard in Supreme Court in 2017.

“I’m hopeful that this decision will move us all forward towards proper reconciliation and the building of a strong future together,” she says.

“We have a strong legal team and I’m very, very grateful and thankful for all of their hard work for helping us to get here today. I also want to thank the City, Scott Nelson for putting this forward to support the Williams Lake Band. Maybe it will help many of the people understand what reconciliation is about and means standing side by side to ensure that all wrongs are now rectified and to work together in the future.”

The Tribunal’s decision does not return lands to First Nations, but instead financially compensates them to a maximum of $150 million.

“Negotiations will begin as soon as we get our summary together and work with our legal team,” says Louie.

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