UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Indigenous perspectives on the outstanding land issue in British Columbia : "we deny their right to it" Narcisse, Cathrena


Arising from and sustained within the context of colonialism, the outstanding indigenous land issue in British Columbia has long been a source of significant conflict between indigenous people and settler governments. Due to its significantly complex political and legal background, it is difficult to reach a clear and comprehensive understanding about this matter, and gaining insight into the indigenous perspective about it is even more challenging. Explicitly considering the broader framework of colonialism in exploring the outstanding indigenous land issue in British Columbia, this dissertation places its focus upon detailing the indigenous perspective in relation to opposing political and legal government positions. Such a study is important in order to adequately understand the perpetuation of the conflicts between indigenous peoples and governments over the outstanding land issue. The research approach relies upon the examination of archival data, along with representations of indigenous oral history narratives, and attendance at indigenous political gatherings. In particular, this research project relies upon information gathered from both indigenous elders and political representatives through interviews and political meetings to form the basis of indigenous perspectives on the outstanding land issue. The findings from this research provide evidence that a discernible pattern of denial and disregard has been established and maintained by successive settler governments and that these patterns are purposefully perpetuated. The political, legal, and regulatory systems devised for power and control over indigenous peoples have effectively shaped the ‘taken for granted assumptions’ of the outstanding land issue. Indigenous perspectives on the ownership of their territories have been consistently maintained through oral history narratives over several generations. The central contribution that can be drawn from this research rests upon the revelation of how indigenous perspectives on the outstanding land issue were actively and continuously suppressed as part of the dispossession process. The significant findings include an in-depth disclosure of how purposeful political and legal procedures accompanied by expansive regulatory mechanisms have served to control how the outstanding indigenous land issue in British Columbia has been actively shaped, understood, and maintained over time through deliberate processes and procedures of colonialism.

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