The Tsilhqot'in Nation has enacted its first Tsilhqot’in law, setting out the rules for how the Tsilhqot’in Nation will govern lands and manage access to the area and its resources. This falls on the heels of the first declaration of Aboriginal title in Canadian history.
On June 26, 2014, the Supreme Court of Canada granted Aboriginal title to the Tsilhqot’in Nation in the area of the Xeni Gwet’in community. Aboriginal title includes the right to exclusive use and occupation of the land, as well as the right to the economic benefits of the land, and the ability to determine the uses to which the land will be put.
The Nemiah Declaration was first declared by the Xeni Gwet’in on August 23, 1989, in response to the threat of widespread clear-cut logging. That threat prompted two decades of litigation, culminating in recognition of Aboriginal title to about 1900 sq. km of land in the central interior of British Columbia.
The Nemiah Declaration is now the law governing the Aboriginal title lands and the broader territory over which the courts declared Aboriginal hunting, trapping and trading rights.
The Declaration outlines specific uses of the land that will not be authorized, along with how future laws, regulations and policies will be developed.