A 250-year-old promise to indigenous peoples still binds
July 5th, 2014
WHEN King George III proclaimed in 1763 that Canada’s indigenous peoples had rights to their ancestral lands, it bought peace with the locals who outnumbered and sometimes outfought the British colonists. But as the balance of inhabitants shifted—indigenous people now account for only 4.3% of the population—governments took an increasingly narrow view of that promise. In some cases they ignored it completely. On June 26th the Supreme Court of Canada provided a sharp reminder that King George’s word is still law.