NEWS RELEASE · 22nd August 2013
Supreme Court of Canada refuses to hear challenge to the constitutionality of Nisga’a Treaty
Today the Nisga’a Nation welcomed the decision of the highest court in the land, the Supreme Court of Canada, as it declined to hear the challenge to the constitutional validity of the Nisga’a Treaty brought by James Robinson and Mercy Thomas.
An extremely pleased Mitchell Stevens, President of the Nisga’a Nation, stated “Today is a great day for the Nisga’a Nation because the highest court in the land, the Supreme Court of Canada, has put to rest the challenge to what our elders have always taught us – that we have a constitutionally protected right of self-government. The Nisga’a Nation has never doubted that our Treaty is consistent with the Canadian constitution. This decision brings this challenge to our Treaty to an end.”
The Supreme Court of Canada upheld the decision of the BC Court of Appeal which handed down its decision on February 5, 2013. That Court ruled “The Treaty has been carefully crafted to respect constitutional principle and to fit into the wider constitutional fabric of Canada. It is what it purports to be: an honourable attempt to resolve important but disputed claims, to achieve reconciliation, and to lay the foundation for a productive and harmonious future relationship between the Nisga’a Nation and the non-Aboriginal population of Canada.”
In October 2011, the BC Supreme Court had also ruled that the challenge to the legal validity of Nisga’a Treaty by Robinson and Thomas failed because the Treaty is consistent with the Canadian constitution. A similar challenge to the validity of the Treaty by Gordon Campbell and others was dismissed in 2001 by the BC Supreme Court.
President Stevens went on to say “Now that our right of self-government has been finally and thoroughly affirmed, we can look forward to the work of pursuing sustainable prosperity for our people without having to deal with this distraction which has cost Nisga’a Lisims Government a great deal of money in legal costs. I can assure Nisga’a citizens that we will be endeavoring to recover at least some of these legal costs.”
The reasons for judgment can be found at www.nisgaanation.ca
I respectfully ask:
Comment by Janice Robinson on 5th September 2013
I am of Tsimshian ancestry. Although my father was Haisla, my early life was ensconced within my Mother's Tsimshian ways (Pearl Campbell).
When explaining the complexities of traditional names to me, one of the things she mentioned was :
"There are so many 'Gitxons' from here to Haida Gwaii, and all down the coast because Di ix travelled here and there, making babies and never brought them home. That is how the name, "Di ix," lost its strength. Women from here to Haida Gwaii, and all up and down the Skeena call themselves "Di ix" now. Other names have taken the place of honour in our house.
So, my question is: How many Nisga'a "Chief Mountains" are there? My Mother spent a year and a half at Terraceview, due to the demands of my cancer treatment. She made a few friends there, one of them, John L. from Kincolith. He told us he is "Chief Mountain."
"Oh." Mom replied, "I thought you were Tsimshian. Wasn't your Mother so-and-so from Kitkatla?" Indeed, she was. We never spoke of the matter again. Tsimshian culture is matriarchal and matrilineal.
Oh well.....the Canadian and B.C. governments don't seem to care which Indians sign those treaties, and the names are all just b.s. gobbledy-goop to them. Just get that brown face smiling, and sign the damn piece of paper!
Anyways, just asking.
Dear Ms. Thomas:
Comment by Janice Robinson on 30th August 2013
The names Mercy Thomas and James Robinson will go down in history. You and Muriel Roberts (Sto lo) were my supervisors at Helping Spirit Lodge during the early 90's.
You were two of my primary role models back then, and you both continue to be.
Ms. Thomas, God's blessings on you, Mr. James Robinson......and all your loved ones. Why wah!
Whii Nea ach
Waap Gitxon, Lax giik
My uncle was obeying the requests of prominent elders
Comment by Wii Tisim Hanakum Xskaag on 27th August 2013
They knew he was strong enough to endure what was asked of him! We stand strongly by my uncle simply because in the end, this wasn't about his money, his life, it was for all those who didn't get to vote the day the AIP was supposedly passed in a illegal vote! I was there and I didn't vote because we were just being informed of the status of the Agreement in Principle! Lots of misunderstandings, miscommunications, misdirections, and misguidance by many who won't ever amount to what my uncle Sganism Simoogit Sagaween stands for! He is not a thief, nor is he a sex offender, nor is he a chief who will cause harmful thoughts to another human being, but he is treated as such!
He would give you all that he owns just to make sure you are taken care of, no matter the cost of this court case nothing will compensate what my uncle believes in, especially the last words of encouragement by those who encouraged him to do exactly as he did!
COMMENTS REGARDING A STATEMENT MADE
Comment by M/M Fred Doolan Sr. on 25th August 2013
Legal cost came from a “Test Case Funding Program:” We have letters and affidavit below :AFFIDAVIT
I, KALYNN HAMILTON, office staff at 200-100 Park Royal, West Vancouver, in the Province of British Columbia, MAKE OATH AND SAY AS FOLLOWS THAT:
Canada made the following contributions under AANDC’s Test Case Funding Programme towards the Nisga’a Nation’s legal fees for the Chief Mountain court proceeding:
June 7, 2004
Dr. Joseph Gosnell, Sr.
Nisga'a Lisims Govenunent
New Aiyansh, B.C.
Re: Nisga'a Treaty Litigation - Test Case Funding
We have recently received from the Test Case Funding Department of the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development a Cheque in the amount of$17,414.54, in contribution towards
Nisga'a legal costs on the Robinson litigation. We are pleased to enclose our Cheque in the same amount, payable to the Nisga'a Nation.
The DIAND Test Case Funding Department has now prepared a new Test Case Funding
Contribution Agreement which will permit further payment of contributions towards Nisga' a legal costs on the Robinson lawsuit.
Nisga'a Nation, Jim Aldridge (as counsel of record) and the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. As before, the agreement contemplates that the Department will pay the contributions to Jim Aldridge.
As you will see, the latest agreement is for contribution of an amount up to a maximum of$25,000.
This amount is intended to cover payments to be made in respect of Nisga'a legal costs incurred in the Robinson lawsuit between November 3, 2003 and March 31, 2005.
Dr. Joseph Gosnell, Sr. -2- June 7, 2004
Paragraph 33 of the Test Case Funding Contribution Agreement requires you to declare that you are authorized to accept the terms of the Agreement and sign on behalf of the Nisga'a Nation.
Mr. Thomas Malloch
Manager, Test Case Funding
ROSENBLOOM & ALDRIDGE
cc: Edmond Wright
Nisga'a Nation isn't aware of and expending Nisga'a Nation funds without Nisga'a Nation mandate while he represented the Nisga'a Nation against Chief Mountain. Example is that they are trying to recoup the moneys without the nation knowing about it.
For your information - NLG is appropriating millions of dollars from the Nisga'a Nation Trust fund which they use any way they feel like - Chief Mountain and Mrs. Thomas are shareholders of those trust funds
This information has been put before the courts and it is public information.
Who is collecting all this money and why are the Nisga’a Lisims Government /Nisga’a Nation seeking for some of the legal fees when Canada and the tax payers are paying the court charges?
Sganisim Sim-augit Sagaw’een and Sigidim’nak Nisibilada are fighting for our lands and status rights. Which every Hereditary Chief should be doing, without the lands our names have no meaning; OUR LANDS are worth trillions /billions of dollars of resources for our community.
When will we see transparency, honesty and accountability? Our concern is WITHOUT THE LANDS WE HAVE NO ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND THERE ARE NO HEREDITARY CHIEFS and as we sell the lands off, we have no revenue coming in. so therefore we have no sustainable prosperity.
Wii Ts’imlx Bishop of Caledonia who was adopted by the Wolf clan made this statement” how the lives of the Nisga’a People and their culture and identity is woven inextricably into this land.”
BC Treaty Commission also said “First Nation traditional –land occupied and used history-is integral to their identity and survival as a distinct nation.”
And further more the late respected Simoogit says
(Shaping the future, Quotes)Sim’oogit Hleek James Gosnell 1982” What do we mean by Aboriginal rights? In answering this question, the most important thing that must be borne in mind is that all of our rights flow from our relationship to the land .Our lives, our culture, and our continued existence as a people are completely tied to the land in the area in which our ancestors have lived since time immemorial. That is why our people have indicated that we will never agree to extinguishments of our Aboriginal title.”
These comments are what compel Sigidim’nak Nisibilada and Sganisim Sim augit Sagaw’een to continue to fight for our lands and status: And we stand in support with this.
With all respect
Sim augit Niy’s wii Amootkw & Sigidim’nak Sim git luu taa
Kincolith BC 250 326 236
I second the comment
Comment by Seconder on 24th August 2013
Truth shall be told, that is the way it is.
The Canadian Courts will always side with Government...
Comment by Band Member on 22nd August 2013
The True Traditionalists will never get justice from the Canadian courts. The Burns Lake Band is researching a way for separation from it's INAC ruled Band Council...I would suggest all reserves that haven't been sucked into treaty yet..take notes and see if this is possible before they get sold out. The Nisga'a people have not prospered and only a few families have benefited. This will be the same across the board. Even though the gov disregarded the treaty regarding the Kitsault mine..the Nisga'a will settle with a bribe..more intrustion equals more money for those at the top.