What Constitutes Aboriginal Title?

What Constitutes Aboriginal Title?
Posted on February 2, 2019 | Jason Arbour | Written on February 2, 2019
Letter type:
Blog Post

Author's Note:

Author's Note:

Constituting aboriginal title can be very complex or even an emotionally sensitive subject, especially, if there is more than one Nation claiming spiritual and vested interest to the same territory.

Aboriginal title and the concept was foreign to many indigenous people before European contact. Generally, indigenous people acknowledged their own customary legal order, peace agreements between nation's and the nature of distinctive villages and encampments across our mother land "Onowarekeh" (Turtle Island). Some indigenous tribes, bands and even individuals moved from fire to fire participating and merging into local customs or lifestyles.
Today, in Canada, the Crown has fiduciary obligations to sui generis, also to ensure aboriginal title can not be extinguished without the explicit prior and informed consent of the proper aboriginal title holders. Aboriginal title rights are not bestowed upon the indigenous people from the Crown nor legislative authorities, but, aboriginal title derives from the inherent use and occupation of the land before the assertion of Crown Sovereignty.
These fiduciary obligations to sui generis are supported by, the 1763 Royal Proclamation, 1774 Quebec Act, 1869 Royal Proclamation, Imperial Statutes, Supreme Court Case Laws and the United Nation Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples that won the support of MPs by a margin of 206 to 79.
In order for an aboriginal group to claim title and meet the Federal Governments criteria, the aboriginal group must first provide the necessary elements to support and advance the land claim. 
Listed below are the key aspects to obtaining legal aboriginal title in Canada.
  • the aboriginal group is and was an organized society;
  • the organized group has occupied a specific territory over which it asserts aboriginal title from time immemorial, and the traditional use and occupancy of the territory must have been sufficient to be established fact at the time of assertion of sovereignty by European nations;
  • the occupation of the territory by the Aboriginal party was largely to the exclusion of other organized societies;
  • the aboriginal group can demonstrate some continuing current use and occupancy of the land for traditional purposes;
  • the group's Aboriginal title and rights to resources use have not been dealt with by treaty; and
  • aboriginal title has not been eliminated by other lawful means.
Well supported claims are characterized by the following list below.
  • clear articulation of claim;
  • evidence supporting the claim;
  • a good document index;
  • an index to records researched;
  • the number of aboriginal bands involved in the claim;
  • the population of the claimant group;
  • the geographical area of the claim; and
  • a plan to address potential disputes arising from overlapping claims with neighboring aboriginal groups;
Today you can access a great variety of information at different electronic data base centers through the internet of things, at the same time, archive your supporting information digitally. If, you lack access to the internet, you can attend various Church's, Archives and Libraries to compile your hard copy collection and historical narrative. 
You can contact Joe Wild, Senior Assistant Deputy Minister Treaties and Aboriginal Government of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada electronically at (Joe.Wild@aadnc-aandc.gc.ca) or you can mail him at (10 Rue Wellington, Gatineau, QC K1A 0H4), if you wish to constitute your aboriginal title and inherited rights status. 
A PDF of Claim Requirements is included below. 

About The Author

Tsit-Kanaja Kaniengehaga's picture

My name is Jason (Rotisken'rakehte) Arbour, Appointed Chief and Legal Representative of Kana:tso Kaniengehaga First Nation. In 1903 my family/band was disbanded from our Indian resserve and place of origin at... More