The Land Rights of Indigenous Canadian Peoples

The Land Rights of Indigenous Canadian Peoples

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Ph.D. Thesis, University of Oxford, 1979
Brian Slattery
1979  488 pp.  Hardcover

The problem examined in this doctoral thesis is whether the land rights originally held by Canada’s Indigenous peoples survived the process whereby the British Crown acquired sovereignty over their territories, and, if so, in what form. The question, although historical in nature, has important implications for current disputes involving Aboriginal land claims in Canada. The work includes: a review of the basic principles of British law governing the acquisition of colonial territories and its effect on private property rights; an examination of the original territorial claims advanced concerning Canada by Spain and Portugal, France, and England,  and their implications for Indian land rights; an outline of the steps by which the British Crown acquired title to its Canadian territories up to 1763, dealing separately with old Nova Scotia, Rupert’s Land, French Canada, and the far west and north-west; and an examination of the provisions concerning Indian lands in the Royal Proclamation of 1763, discussing their historical evolution, scope, validity, legal effects, modifiability, and continuing application.