JANUARY 31, 1973

THE CALDER CASE: THE CANADIAN SUPREME COURT ACKNOWLEDGES ABORIGINAL TITLE

Calder, et al. v. Attorney General of British Columbia (Calder case), was a legal action brought in 1969 by Nisga’a Chief Frank Calder [see November 4] in which the Canadian Supreme Court first recognized Aboriginal rights of Indigenous peoples over their lands.  That same year, Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau’s White Paper denied the concept that Indigenous people had inherent rights, including land title rights.  Despite dismissal by both the Supreme Court of British Columbia (B.C.) and the B.C. Court of Appeals, the Nisga’a appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada where six of seven judges ruled that Aboriginal title existed in Canadian law.  The decision resulted in the federal government releasing a policy on comprehensive land claims in August 1973 and starting negotiations with the Nisga’a in 1976.  The result was The Nisga’a Treaty of 2000–the first modern treaty in B.C.  It serves as a model for First Nations seeking self-government and land treaties in Canada.  

Source:  David A. Cruicshank, “Calder Case,” The Canadian Encyclopedia, 8/24/2006.  Retrieved, http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/calder-case/
Photo:  NewYork 1956 at English Wikipedia, 3/12/2012. Released into Public Domain by the author for any purpose and with no limitations.

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