An emotional event took place on the last day of the Special Chief’s Assembly of the Assembly of First Nations in Laxgalts’ap.
Grand Chief Edward John of the AFN apologized on behalf of his predecessors for not aiding the Nisga’a Nation when they began their efforts to have their traditional territory legally recognized.
That effort ultimately led to the precedent setting 1973 Calder case in which Aboriginal title was recognized by the Supreme Court of Canada.
President Mitchell Stevens accepted the apology on behalf the Nisga’a Lisims Government.
He says it was the sacrifice of the past Nisga’a people that allows them to benefit today.
President Steven says while the support wasn’t there in the past, it’s important for Aboriginal people to be united today.
While the Calder case wasn’t a complete victory for the Nisga’a, it ultimately led to the Delgamuukw case in 1997 and the recent Tsilhqot’in decision in 2014, which have expanded and entrenched Aboriginal title claims.