On June 26, 2014, the Supreme Court of Canada handed down a major ruling on aboriginal title in its Nation Tsilhqot’in v. British Columbia decision.
The Court confirmed and applied the conditions for establishing aboriginal title that it had set out earlier in Delgamuukw (which in turn built on the earlier test for aboriginal rights established in Van Der Peet). These conditions may be summarized as follows:
a) the First Nations group must establish that the occupation of its territory prior to sovereignty was sufficient to ground aboriginal title;
b) where present occupation is relied on as proof of occupation prior to Crown sovereignty, the First Nations group must establish continuity between present and pre-sovereignty occupation; and
c) the First Nations group must establish that it had exclusive occupation of the land at the time of sovereignty, evidenced by its intention and capacity to retain exclusive control over the lands.
The family held Keyohs of the Central Carrier people have all of the 3 criteria to meet the tests established by the Supreme Court of Canada for Aboriginal Title.
On July 5th, 2003, Chief Sally Sam, Keyohwhudachun or Keyoh Holder of the Maiyoo Keyoh put the Province of British Columbia on notice.