British Columbia Argues Nuchatlaht Nation
Excerpt from the article…
B.C. argues Nuchatlaht Nation ‘abandoned’ its territory. Lawyer reminds court ‘land was stolen’ In the first-ever title case argued in B.C. since the province introduced UNDRIP legislation, Crown lawyers assert the nation lost territorial rights by not consistently occupying their lands. Experts say the argument is strange, possibly illegal and a step back for reconciliation …
The land claim, which could set the stage for other First Nations in B.C., was launched in January 2017, but has not yet been tested in B.C. Supreme Court. Nuchatlaht leaders lay blame for the drawn-out process on provincial government lawyers who claim the nation abandoned their territory. The delays mean escalating costs for the small band, which has fewer than 170 members.
The province has purposefully taken up a phoney defence designed to delay justice, said Jack Woodward, lawyer for the Nuchatlaht.
“This defence of abandonment is a procedural barrier. It’s a way of making it difficult and expensive to get to court. Of course, the government has unlimited resources to fight us and we don’t have unlimited resources,” Woodward said at the webinar.
“We don’t have a trial date and one of the reasons we don’t have a trial date is that the government is saying they need more time to organize their evidence of abandonment. We are saying you don’t need any more time to organize evidence of abandonment — first, you shouldn’t be pleading it and second, there is no evidence because there was no abandonment,” he said.