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Tsilhqot’in Lawyer “Aboriginal Title belongs to the customary group”

Posted on July 23, 2014

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On June 26 the Supreme Court of Canada handed down their unanimous decision.  The judges decided 8 – 0 that the Tsilhqot’in hold Aboriginal Title to their land.  The primary lawyer for the Tsilhqot’in is Jack Woodward.  In this video clip Jack talks about how the Indian Act band isn’t always the rights holder, that title and rights are held by the customary governing body.

Also in the Tsilhqot’in Decision, John Dewhirst is the primary anthropologist and expert witness on pre-sovereignty aboriginal ethnography of the Tsilhqot’in.  Since testifying for the Tsilhqot’in, John has spent most of his time studying the Carrier  system of land tenure.  Based on John Dewhirst’s research and the Jack Woodward video, Title and Rights belongs to the customary group.  In this case the Keyoh Holders or Keyohwhudachun are the customary hereditary chiefs of the Stuart Lake Carrier Keyohs.  The Keyoh Holder or Keyohwhudachun and his or her patrilocal resident family is the aboriginal group who hold Aboriginal Rights and Title to their Keyoh.

Sally Sam b1938 is the Keyohwhudachun for the Maiyoo Keyoh, Sally and her extended family hold Aboriginal Title to the Maiyoo Keyoh.