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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Reconciliation : Git₋xsan property and crown sovereignty Mills, Patricia Dawn


Using the "Acts of Reconciliation", September 14, 1998, as a model, I argue that Canada, British Columbia and the Gitxsan can establish a respectful relationship acknowledging Gitxsan land tenure and their governance institutions. It is contended that the principal role the Federal Crown occupies toward the Gitxsan is protection of their rights and lax 'wiiyip from unnecessary Provincial infringements. In exchange for this protection, the Gitxsan can easily extend to Canada amnigwootxw rights (privileged rights of access for good deeds). Similarly, the relationship between the Gitxsan and the Provincial Crown could simply be based in xkyeehl (payment to the wilp). It is suggested that until 1997 Gitxsan aboriginal title and associated rights have been limited to Reserve lands or site-specific subsistence activities. Although the Gitxsan have the option of pursuing proof of their title in Court, they continue to press for a negotiated settlement that recognizes their ayooks (laws) and governance procedures. The Gitxsan believe that the essence of their relationship with the Crown in right of Canada and British Columbia is situated in the construction of protocols for consultation when either Canada or the Province desires to enact legislation to access resources or settle foreign populations within the boundaries of their lax'wiiyip. In the event that such acts limit Gitxsan access to their s. 35 rights or title, it is maintained by the Gitxsan that they have the right to compensation. As such, it is recommended that the second aspect of Gitxsan and Crown relations is situated in the development of indices for compensation. This case study uses the Proceedings at Trial for the "Delgam 'Uukw (Muldoe) et al. v. R. in right of British Columbia and Attorney General of Canada" [1991] 3 W.W.R. 97 trial heard from May 11, 1987 until June 30, 1990), the advice of various Sœm'ogits and Sœm 'oogits in the Hazelton, Kispiox, Kitwancool and Kitwanga areas, and the literature on the history of the Land Question in British Columbia.

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