Land claims by British Columbia Indians

February 9, 1973 — The leader of the Anglican Church of Canada said today that the basic rights of Canada’s native people cannot be rejected and ignored. Archbishop E.W. Scott spoke in reference to the current dispute involving land claims by British Columbia Indians.

“In the past, we’ve tended to push aside the legitimate claims of Canada’s Indians,” said Archbishop Scott.

He said that many past agreements between Indians and white men involved sovereign Indian nations. In many instances, the Indians had their own legal interpretations and cultural understanding which “the White Man’s Law” doesn’t take into account.

“We’re elated that the prime minister has chosen to reverse his stand on aboriginal land claims,” Archbishop Scott continued. “The dispute should be settled politically, now that it’s been through the courts.”

He said politics can take into account these cultural arguments which the law cannot.

The archbishop spoke yesterday at a Toronto meeting of the Church’s Executive Council of the General Synod.

The Committee voted unanimously to continue its support of the Nishga Indians and expressed its hope that Canada will deal responsibly with their land claims.

In 1969 the Anglican Church of Canada donated $10,000 from the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund to help finance the Nishga’s appeal to the Supreme Court.

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