On the steps of B.C.’s Supreme Court, Jack Woodward Lawyer spoke plainly about the civil case his client, the Nuchatlaht First Nation, had just filed against the federal and provincial governments over land title.
“All other Canadians expect that if they’re left land in a will, if their ancestors owned something, then they’re entitled to own it. These people have been denied that and this is an attempt to rectify the situation.”
The aboriginal-claim filed by the Nuchatlaht seeks the government to officially recognize its right and title to traditional lands on Vancouver Island.
Hereditary Chief Walter Michael explained going to court was not a rash decision, but one that was made after years of ineffective conversations and treaty talks with government:
“Successive governments have failed to give the Nuchatlaht serious iisaak (respect) for their rights and title. These governments need to hear from the court system to allow us to restore and protect our ancestral lands for the benefit of all future generations.”