William, Alphonse react to B.C. Court of Appeal decision

Roger William’s reaction to the B.C. Court of Appeal decision on the William Case last week is mixed.

Roger William’s reaction to the B.C. Court of Appeal decision on the William Case last week is mixed.

“I think in a sense we feel that we have title and are certainly disappointed, but at the same time the appeal did uphold our rights, which is very strong. In that sense I’m very happy,” said William, one of the three plaintiffs. The other two who appealed the case are the provincial and federal governments.

Regarding title, William said the judge ruled that he didn’t feel that an overall territorial title was warranted in the case.

“We won’t be going to the Supreme Court of Canada pushing for site specific rights,” William said. “The Tsilhqot’in understanding of title is title for the whole area. There’s no place in the country or the world that has title to specific areas. You can look up any country and see that they don’t have title that is site specific; they have title to a whole area and they have a boundary.”

William said First Nations have tried treaties, but they have been broken, and court cases seem to be the only option.

“Certainly it is status quo in terms of the Judge Vicker’s decision where we feel and understand that our declaration of rights to hunt, to trade, to trap and use wild horses means that Canada and B.C. have to prove to us that they will not infringe on those aboriginal rights to those areas.”

William said as he listened to the ruling he was thinking about the elders and children in his community. Some of the members from his community who testified are no longer alive.

His mood changed from being disappointed to feeling things could have been worse.

“What about trade. What about horses? That still remains. The ruling hands down lots of protection and issues that we can work on,” he said.

Tlet’inqox (Anaham) Chief Joe Alphonse said the William case and subsequent appeal have been a long fight for the Tsilhqot’in Nation.

“Since 1992, we’ve been struggling with this issue, but the verdict in the court of appeal today upheld our rights and access to resources on our traditional lands,” Alphonse said Wednesday.

One area he says is weak is the ruling around recognized title.

“We’re describing it as a postage stamp approach. As Tsilhqot’in we recognize having ownership to the whole territory, not bits and pieces. It opens the door to take that specific issue and challenge to the Supreme Court of Canada.”

By right, Alphonse says he thinks an issue that large should go to the Supreme Court of Canada. It’s an issue that all First Nations across Canada are struggling and fighting with.

And if it’s overruled there, the implications will be felt all across the country, not just in B.C. Alphonse says, adding there’s still work to do to push the issue.

“We’ll continue to digest the ruling step by step and make appropriate decisions at the appropriate time.”


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Seniors in the Interior Health region can book their COVID-19 vaccinations starting Monday, March 8, 2021 at 7 a.m. (File photo)
Seniors in Interior Heath region can book COVID-19 shots starting Monday

Starting March 8 the vaccination call centre will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily

Lorne Doerkson is the Liberal MLA for the Cariboo-Chilcotin. (Black Press Media file photos)
MLA’s CORNER: Premier Horgan needs to work harder

There are lots of people out there who are in desperate need of assistance

The first Chimney Creek Roadhouse, constructed in 1864. (Photo courtesy of the B.C. Provincial Archives)
HAPHAZARD HISTORY: The Isnardy family of Williams Lake

Amadee Isnardy was born in 1840 near Nice, France

Jim Hilton pens a column on forestry each week for the Quesnel Observer.
FOREST INK: Ecological economics not a popular topic for most people

The following is a review of the no (or slow) growth concept

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Pictures and notes in from friends and classmates make up a memorial in support and memory of Aubrey Berry, 4, and her sister Chloe, 6, during a vigil held at Willows Beach in Oak Bay, B.C., on December 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Mother of slain daughters supports recent changes to Canada’s Divorce Act

Sarah Cotton-Elliott said she believed her children took a back seat to arranging equal parenting

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead on Vancouver Island in ‘targeted incident’

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

Most Read