Acclaimed Court Decision on Aboriginal Title: Unprecedented Force on Canadian Politics, Law and Society

Essay by mrdolf November 2006

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"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in the moment of comfort and convenience but where he stands at times of

challenge and controversy"

Martin Luther King (1963)

In 1997 the Supreme Court Decision concerning Delgamuukw vs. British Columbia has influenced how Canada defined 'Aboriginal title' with content that hold legal precedence as it pertains to land issues raised and how the Court to apply and adapt the principles to 'aboriginal title' as 'distinct species' of constitutional Aboriginal rights. Understanding the challenges of Aboriginal people in Canada provides the opportunity to appreciate the history that has influenced Canadian law, politics and societal views of recognizing the rights of the 'original peoples' of the land. As described by Thomas Hobbes, the working in any political system depends largely on how all other, social and economic institutions which have shaped or might shape the people with whom and by whom the political system must operate.

Prior Delgamuukw, Canada applied the Proclamation, otherwise known as the 'magna carta of Indian rights', in order to determine 'Aboriginal rights' 'treaty rights' or 'aboriginal title'.

The Royal Proclamation 1763 is a timepiece which signifies the nature of relationship building between the 'original peoples' and Crown, unfortunately Canada's principles have continually been reconstructed to meet the societal needs as it relates to the social demands of accessing resources for economic benefits. As stated in the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples Report, Canadian government gradually accepted the idea of shared sovereignty, but loath the idea of handing over full reign of powers to genuinely support self-governing nations or the resources to make self-government a success " (1993). It is evident that after 200 years of contact, the paternalistic attitudes perpetuate the institutions of government. As a result, the issue of Delgamuukw, the province of...