...is what's needed now.
With a mandate to remind and remember, AQ features hard-to-find historical documentation from events that inform the present.
AQ shakes out the archives for primary sources on Indigenous land and British Columbia, sharing:
~ key extracts from archival artifacts
~ quotes and interviews on the issues as they were
~ relatable commentary and a few side-notes
~ images and timelines that connect past and present
Get every issue: available in digital and print formats. Start sharing with your contacts!
Get previews and news on Facebook. See when new docs are uploaded to the online archive.
BC history is lit from one side - showing settler progress to advantage, while rendering the Indigenous reality of that “progress” indiscernible.
This magazine aims to balance the view. As well as the written records, interviews with Elders reveal circumstances leading up to political movements, court actions and roadblocks, and conditions in their communities at the time.
Excerpts in the journal will be presented in full documents online, where they are accessible to download.
Readers are invited to reply with remarks on the content, or additional materials, in aid of growing the overall archive project with interviews and donated collections.
Continuing towards full realization of a physical, public-access archive, we look forward to working with you. There are many ways to connect and be involved!
The Archive Project has been underway for many years. Currently, the digital collection is accessible online and docs are free to view and download.
Hosted on a Wordpress site run by EMP, the blog and archive is called "The West Wasn't Won."
Travelling Exhibits are available to visit classrooms, conferences, gatherings, or workshops. Specialized micro-collections are made up of docs and publications, the news-clipping albums, power point reels and more.
Hire exhibits on the subjects of: jurisdiction over children and families; roadblocks; the progress of Aboriginal Title in Canadian courts; international fora and reports; and the BC Treaty Process.
Check in to build your own custom packages.
News coverage from the time shows the significance of the break-through case. Editors and readers alike realized that the question of Indigenous sovereignty is linked to ownership of the land, "native title" as it was called, and this hunting case from Nanaimo brought the issue into the modern courts and Canadian common law.
David White and Clifford Bob's ancestors had sold land to Governor James Douglas in 1854, so the Colony of Vancouver's Island would have land to settle on. The court case revolved around the Province's ongoing denial of continuing rights to hunt on lands that were not sold to the Colony.
A magistrate convicted White and Bob of illegally being in possession of six deer; they appealed, and a County Court threw out the convictions, acquitting them on the basis that they had ongoing rights to hunt on unoccupied land there in the ancestral territory. The Province of BC appealed that decision all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada. White and Bob proved their hunting rights were superior to BC's game laws.
"...this game warden kept arresting them for hunting deer and throwing them in Oakalla,..."
An interview with Kitty Sparrow about that day in court, in September of 1964, when White and Bob won at the BC Court of Appeal.
"The game warden was sitting next to me and when he saw the jig was up, he got up to leave and my mother stuck her chin out and she said, "You bastard, get back there and learn something." Laughter
Nisga'a lawyers followed up this case with Calder v. Attorney General of British Columbia
In 1969, the "Nishga case" as it was spelled then, was seeking a declaration of ongoing native title.
In 1973, Calder got a second groundbreaking result in the Supreme Court of Canada.
Since then, the 1997 Delgamuukw decision has identified specific economic interests in native title lands, including the right to compensation. Lawyers suggest that White and Bob's Snuneymuxw community, among others who sold land to the Colony, should have recourse to compensation for lands they own, but which have been sold as private property and developed while native title is denied by the Province.
When the new Province of British Columbia encountered the reality of buying land for settlement from the Indigenous Peoples, it made legislation instead.
BC's assumption of access to everything west of the Rocky Mountains was met with dismissal from the Attorney General of the newly confederated Canada. "...all lands belonging to the Province, shall belong to the Province "subject to any trust existing in respect thereof, and to any interest other than that of the Province in the same."
The 1874 Act was disallowed; Canada got a new Attorney General; the new AG allowed a renewed BC Lands Act, saying, “Great inconvenience and confusion might result from its disallowance.”
With this cloud on title, Canada and BC took drastic actions: the Indian Act and the Indian Reserve Commissions.
Indigenous response to the "Indian Reserve Commission" was swift and clear.
The 1874 Petition represented each community from Douglas Portage through the Lower Fraser, and up the seashore of the mainland to Bute Inlet. There were 109 signators.
Over widespread and meaningfully organized protest, Canada legislated the Indian Reserve boundaries marked off by the 1912-1914 Reserve Commission.
In AQ, we will read about the political steam-roller from the letters and petitions of individual nations, the Allied Tribes, the Douglas Tribes, and more.
The Land Question west of the Rockies today is scarred by the fact that Indian Reserve boundaries, surveyed and legislated at about one acre per person in 1924, have rarely and barely been increased. Today, almost 80% of Indigenous persons live off-reserve.
We will look into the poverty caused by this denial, one aspect of which is the on-reserve housing crisis.
The Bonaparte Roadblock at Cache Creek in 1974 is considered the first armed standoff in modern history, since the turn of the century. The issue that sparked it? An Elder's house burned to the ground, and the DIA would do nothing to replace it - while people who could have built him a new house were not allowed to access the timber of their territory.
The Native Peoples Caravan launched from an occupation in Onigaming, Anishinabek. Heavily armed police responded. Similar issues of poverty and denial united people from coast to coast to coast in marching to Ottawa, where they presented the Native Peoples Manifesto.
Indigenous access to land and resources are widely denied by Canada and British Columbia, even while the governments can show no evidence of proper ownership.
Attempts to defend the land or use it for basic survival needs has resulted in roadblocks, legal action, and political negotiations everywhere.
In 2014, the first and only judicial declaration of Aboriginal title land in Canada was made for the Tsilhqot'in nation. That was 60 years after the White and Bob case brought the fact of unsold land rights into court for the very first time. And 50 years after the Nisga'a case in Calder resulted in strong judicial opinion that native land title has survived every aspect of colonial assumptions of jurisdiction.
thank you very much