chapter  7
20 Pages

Leveraging international power

Private property and the human rights of indigenous peoples in Canada
WithBrian Thom

This chapter explores how the dynamics take shape in Canada, tracing a case study of efforts by a coalition of indigenous peoples to have their rights recognized within large tract of land made private in an historic railway grant. Private property presents a particularly challenging problem for indigenous peoples seeking recognition and accommodation of their land rights and ongoing cultural practices. During negotiations, the Hul’qumi’num Treaty Group (HTG) sought to re-establish a territorial land base, looking to the state for some combination of land transfer or purchase, jurisdictional recognition, and where appropriate, shared decision-making authorities for cultural matters on lands not under indigenous jurisdiction. For many local observers, modern-day treaty negotiation negotiations in British Columbia have all but failed. The HTG’s case is distinctively challenging because the fiscal and economic stakes surrounding the surety of private land titles is too high for the state to divert from its current approach of non-recognition.