Thursday, November 22, 2007

Xeni'gwetin title is "a simple, straightforward acknowledgment of an historical fact."

Very close to my heart: Yesterday's court ruling in the case filed by the Nemiah Valley Tsilhqot'in, arguing for recognition of their rights and title to their homelands.

The long struggle of the Xeni people, which began in the tragedy that came to be called the "Chilcotin War" of 1864, was the subject of a book I wrote in collaboration with elders of the 400-member community (and with the photographers Rick Blacklaws, Gary Fiegehen and Vance Hanna). I spent several months living out in Nemiah, off and on. There are no better storytellers than those old people. It was one of the happiest times of my life.

There's a great deal of hype about the court decision, its meaning and its implications.

I'm with Les Leyne:

Their lawyers billed $18.2 million to the federal and provincial governments for the work that went into the argument. B.C. and Canada's representation cost another $11 million.

That's $30 million in taxpayers' money that resulted in another plaintive cry from the bench to keep these sorts of issues out of the courts.

By some cosmic coincidence, the decision was released the same day five more First Nations arrived at the legislature to watch B.C. begin the ratification process for their treaties.

Five chiefs stood at the bar of the legislature and gave heartfelt, touching speeches about the importance of the new trail they are setting out on.

You couldn't find a more compelling contrast between the essential futility of the court process and the product of honest negotiations if you tried.


Blogger jk said...

I wrote a long post on why civil courts are corrupt, expensive and involve reguiar enlavement of litigants.

The context of my post is high-tech issues in American courts, but the same problems apply to any civil litigation, and it didn't take much googling to see that Canada has similar problems in its court system.

11:50 AM  

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