Scott Fraser, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, has released the following statement in recognition of the fifth anniversary of the landmark Tsilhqot'in Decision:
"On June 26, 2014, the Supreme Court of Canada recognized Aboriginal title for the first time in Canadian history. This historic decision set a new and higher standard for the recognition of the rights of Indigenous peoples. Its promise was a new foundation from which we can and must proceed toward more respectful relationships between Indigenous peoples and governments in British Columbia and in Canada.
"The declaration of Aboriginal title on approximately 1,700 square kilometres in the Cariboo-Chilcotin was the culmination of many years of tireless work by the Xeni Gwet'in First Nation and all the Chiefs representing the Tsilhqot'in National Government (TNG) who work on behalf of the Tsilhqot'in peoples.
“When I became minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation in 2017, I was charged with working collaboratively with Indigenous peoples to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's Calls to Action, and the principles articulated in the Tsilhqot'in Decision.
"Unprecedented decisions require new and innovative solutions to bring them into action. B.C. has been working in partnership with TNG under the Nenqay Deni Accord to build a path forward. We recognize that there is more work to do in this unprecedented landscape and it won’t always be easy. We acknowledge the challenges as we look for concrete answers to circumstances that are unique in B.C. We continue to learn from this work.
"We are committed to working together in a true government-to-government relationship to make a positive difference in the day-to-day lives of the Tsilhqot'in peoples and citizens of B.C., now and for generations to come."