On Thursday, the chiefs of the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council were celebrating the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada declaring aboriginal title for the Tsilhqot’in Nation.
“Our First Nations people in British Columbia have worked so hard and waited so long for this day to arrive. We can put the history of denial to bed and move forward knowing that we have finally been acknowledged as the rightful owners of these lands.” stated Chief Shane Gottfriedson, chief of Tk’emlups Indian Band and of the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council.
The highest court in Canada has declared that title exists and that title is not confined to village sites or small tracts of land.
“We believe that the high Court has applied common sense and the law to reach this long overdue conclusion, we do have title, it’s not extinguished and extends across our traditional territories.” the chief said.
The Shuswap Nation Tribal Council would like to recognize the people of the Tsilhqot’in Nation and their legal team for their unrelenting efforts to bring the title issue to a successful conclusion.
Chief Gottfriedson said, “The Tsilhqot’in Nation has sacrificed so much time, effort, and money to finally have this victory; we are proud to be here to witness this historic and life changing event and proud of the Tsilhqot’in leadership, past and present, for never giving up this fight.
“We know that some of the Elder witnesses at the original trial did not live long enough to be here today for this victory. To those Elders and their families we are forever grateful.”