The Nuchatlaht Court Rally 2022
March 21st has been set as the first day of the trial, and it is expected to run 14 weeks until the end of June.
In the last few months, we have been busy at work gathering evidence and dealing with procedural matters before the court. Evidence in the trial will include cutting edge research from Archaeologist Jacob Earnshaw and Ethnobotanist Chelsey Armstrong in support of the Nuchatlaht’s case. They will tell the Court about the extensive physical evidence of indigenous use of the land, including cultivation of forest gardens for food production.
There have been a number of conferences before the Judge and with lawyers for British Columbia, Canada and Western Forest Products. We have used these opportunities to advocate for a trial that is will be as thorough and affordable as possible.
Last month the Province filed a Trial Brief with the Court, outlining what they plan to argue during the trial. This includes:
Displacement: The Province plans to argue that the Nuchatlaht were displaced from their land. At trial we will respond that displacement is another word for extinguishment or abandonment, and that this is not a valid defence.
Too Slow: The Province plans to argue that the Nuchatlaht were too slow, and should have brought this lawsuit when they realized their land was taken over a century ago. We will respond that this is not a valid defence, considering it was illegal for First Nations to bring a land claim until the 1950s, and the Nuchatlaht’s participation in the modern treaty process.
Too Weak: The Province says it is a complex issue whether the Nuchatlaht existed in the past and whether the current Nuchatlaht are the same. We will tell the Court that this not complex, and in fact it is simple. The Nuchatlaht existed on Northwest Nootka Island in 1846 and the Nuchatlaht today are the descendants of that community.
This has been a long process, but with the trial date fast approaching we are excited to see this through. We hope to see you there March 21st.
The trial will be public and all Nuchatlaht members are welcome to attend the courthouse at 800 Smithe Street in Vancouver. We hope to see you there. If Covid mandates will not allow an in-person audience, Nuchatlaht members will be able to view the trial over the internet.
Location of Rally:
800 Smithe Street, Vancouver, BC V6Z 2E1
Time of Rally: 8:30am (Pacific Standard Time)
Please send completed applications to Office@nuchatlaht.com
or fax to 250-332-5907