The land-claim case involving Cowichan Tribes and land near the mouth of the Fraser River has moved to Duncan.
Cowichan Tribes’ Chief William Seymour said the case, which is being heard by the Supreme Court of B.C., has moved from Victoria to the Duncan courthouse for two weeks, ending on Jan. 31.
He said the temporary change in location is taking place so some of the First Nation’s elders who can’t travel to Victoria can be interviewed by the court.
“The elders have a lot of history to share on these lands,” Seymour said.
“The court case is expected to go for awhile yet. It started on Sept. 9 and is scheduled to run for about 400 days, so it shouldn’t end until January, 2021.”
The Cowichan Nation Alliance first initiated the case in 2014 against Canada, B.C. and the City of Richmond to recover land they are claiming near the mouth of the Fraser River.
The case is based on the claim of the CNA, which includes Cowichan Tribes, Stz’uminus First Nation, Penelakut Tribe and Hal’alt First Nation, to approximately 1,900 acres of traditional village and surrounding lands on the south shore of Lulu Island, which is now in the City of Richmond, as well as the right to fish the south arm of the Fraser River for food.
The CNA claims that the Cowichan people had a semi-permanent fishing village, called Tl’uqtinus, in that location around the time of contact with Europeans which their ancestors travelled to annually from the Gulf Islands in order to fish for food and harvest plants.
The CNA is seeking to recover those publicly held lands, much of which remains undeveloped.