letter teaser

95 % of B.C. considered unceded lands

To the editor;

It’s time to have an open and honest discussion about the elephant in the room – who owns Canada.

June 26, 2014 Canada Supreme Justice Beverly McLachlin ceded the Tsilhqot’in Nation about 1,750 square kilometers of land in northwest B.C. by awarding them occupancy and use of the land.

Today 95 per cent of B.C. is considered unceded lands that cannot be bought, owned, or sold by individuals or group, Indigenous people included.

It’s a senseless, and one-sided decision, consulting only the Indigenous people, not the other 4.8 million British Columbians.

We are all descendants of the very first people who populated mother Earth, all have their blood in our veins, and regardless of how thin and who’s blood does not change that.

Carbon-dated residue suggesting there was life on Greenland 2.5 billion years ago, puts the ‘I saw it first makes it mine’ in a different perspective.

We are a migrant global society. Randomly settling anywhere in the world, does not in any way change our collective heritage.

The land belongs to all of us, to use and enjoy.

The ruling allows no recognition, credits, or compensation for the billions of dollars investors and taxpayers have poured into industrial and public infrastructure over the centuries, for the benefit of all Canadians, Indigenous people included, while making them tenants on the land they owned, built, and lived on.

The interpretation of that ruling has motivated major cities across Canada and all levels of governments to adopt the following declaration and disclaimer on many of their proclamations and legal documents using text like ‘we recognize we are on unceded land’.

The disclaimer is a public notice that while we had title ‘fee simple’ to our homes and businesses yesterday, the ruling arbitrarily transformed Canada into ceded and unceded land that we can no longer own, buy, or sell.

According to Justice McLachlin’s ruling, occupancy and use of Canadian lands is now subject to interpretation of the Supreme court of Canada (SCC), a radical, senseless departure from common practice where laws are written by the people, and enforced by the courts.

The courts cannot arbitrarily ignore our collective heritage, nor can the United Nations (UN).

The ruling is not sustainable. We need to restore that ‘fee simple’ status or an equivalent accreditation to be able to use our land as assets that we can buy, sell, and tender as security and collateral to finance future land use and developments.

Indigenous people must also have the right to become homeowners and shareholders in businesses on and off reservations and treaty lands, and Harper’s financial transparency law must be restored.

Andy Thomsen

Kelowna, B.C.

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news@starjournal.net

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