British Columbia Apologizes to Its Indians

New York Times, - Wednesday, February 12, 2003
Author: Reuters

Abstract: British Columbia apologizes for treatment of indigenous Indians and vows to resolve land treaties pending since European settlement in 1800's; province is only one in Canada to ignore 1763 royal directive requiring treaties to be signed.

British Columbia apologized today for its treatment of indigenous Indians, and vowed to resolve land treaties left undone since Europeans settled on Canada's West Coast in the 1800's.

The Liberal government of Premier Gordon Campbell used the Throne Speech, which opens a new session of the provincial legislature, to say its institutions have "failed aboriginal peoples across our province."

"Your government deeply regrets the mistakes that were made by governments of every political stripe over the course of the province's history," Mr. Campbell said in the ceremonial speech read by Lt. Gov. Iona Campagnolo.

British Columbia is the only Canadian province to officially ignore a 1763 directive from the British Crown that required land treaties to be signed with native Indians.

Talks involving the province, the federal government and more than 40 different Indian nations and groups in British Columbia began in the 1990's under court pressure. Only one treaty has been completed, with the Nisga'a Nation, and it was negotiated independently.

Edition: Late Edition - Final
Section: Foreign DeskPage: 7
Page Column: 5