A glimmer of hope as Heiltsuk Nation and others intervene in the Saugeen Ojibway Nation Appeal

While RAVEN primarily supports Indigenous Nations with their own legal challenges, we also support access to justice by funding Interveners in Indigenous legal challenges across the Nation. For those of us who don’t speak legal jargon: Interveners are third-party voices who can bring unique perspectives to a case in which they may be impacted by the outcome. 

Saugeen First Nation and Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation (collectively, the Saugeen Ojibway Nation or “SON”) has been at the The Ontario Court of Appeal after the Ontario Superior Court of Justice dismissed the claim for aboriginal title to submerged lands beneath part of Lake Huron and Georgian Bay. Heiltsuk Nation definitely has a stake in this process: a favourable outcome in the SON appeal would greatly increase the chance of success in Heiltsuk’s title case that aims to protect the seabed and foreshore from future oil spills. (Donate to Heiltsuk’s legal challenge here).

Thanks to the RAVEN community, we funded Heiltsuk’s Intervention in the SON case. Lawyers at Ng Ariss Fong were in The Ontario Court of Appeal last week to present Heiltsuk’s perspective. Heiltsuk Nation’s testimony was immediately helpful to SON: following their submission, Canada’s lawyers announced that Canada has reversed its position and now agrees that aboriginal title to lands beneath navigable waters is legally recognizable. 

Heiltsuk’s powerhouse legal team, Ng Ariss Fong, wrote a blog and put together a short podcast explainer to give us some insight into how the Intervener arguments went: Read more and listen to the podcast here…

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