They Promised to Leave Us Some of Our Land: Aboriginal Title in Canada's Maritime Provinces
Hamilton, Robert Colin
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This thesis analyzes the status of Aboriginal title in Canada's Maritime Provinces in light of the Supreme Court of Canada's historic declaration of Aboriginal title in the 2014 decision of Tsilhqot'in Nation v. British Columbia. This thesis argues that, in light of the clarified legal principles articulated by the Court, it is very likely that Aboriginal title can be proven to have existed in the Maritime Provinces. In light of this conclusion, the inquiry then shift to whether that title was legally extinguished. The legal parameters of the extinguishment question are surveyed in considerable detail and it is concluded that title was likely never legally extinguished in the region. Having found that title was likely not extinguished in the region, the final section of the thesis analyzes how the Aboriginal peoples of the region were dispossessed of their lands and provides some provisional arguments concerning the legal framework for assessing that dispossession where legal extinguishment is not proven.