The Canadian Supreme court recently made one of the “most important Supreme Court ruling on aboriginal rights in Canadian history.” This June 2015 ruling recognized that tribes had title to lands that they had not ceded through treaties. Particularly, the ruling granted the Tsilqhot’in Nation (pronounced Sil-KO-tin) aboriginal title to a vast piece of land in the interior of British Columbia.
The rights are not absolute. They can still be abrogated in some circumstances, but this ruling significantly bolsters the rights of native peoples to control their land by maintaining that the native voice should be at the center of any decision about land use. This is a promising decision that rests on the back of decades of hard activist work. We must use this decision to push the US to follow suit in recognizing the sovereignty of native peoples.