Supreme Court Rules Douglas Treaty Valid
Rights of Indians Upheld Game Laws Do Not Apply
By PATRICK O’NEILL
B.C. game laws do not apply to Indians on Vancouver Island, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled Wednesday.
This is a complete victory for Island Indians, in a case that has travelled the long road on the highest court in Canada from a Nanaimo magistrate’s court trial of two Indians.
And the men who started the whole process, Indian hunters Clifford White and David Bob, were among the last to learn the supreme court’s decision.
Mr. Bob at Nanoose, and Mr. White, at Cedar, were not in telephone contact.
In making its decision, the supreme court upheld treaties signed by the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1854.
The treaties were signed by James Douglas, chief factor of the company as well as governor of the Island.
The judgment was greeted with enthusiasm by Island Indian officials.
“This is a great victory for us,” said Edward Elliot of Cowichan Indian Band.
Mr. Elliot, who was among those responsible for the progress of the White-Bob case to the supreme court, added “It is a very logical decision.”
“If the government makes a treaty, surely it should live up to it. I think there are a lot of white people who will be in favor of this decision.