Province failed to adequately accommodate Gitanyow when issuing forest licences, court rules (Wii'litswx v. British Columbia )

In a ruling by Justice Neilson of the Supreme Court of British Columbia, it was concluded that the Crown failed to fulfill its duty to meaningfully consult and adequately accommodate Gitanyow’s aboriginal interests in the course of the decision to replace six 15-year Forest Licences.

From the August 28, 2008 Globe and Mail article "Natives gain more influence over logging" by Robert Matas:

VANCOUVER -- Natives will have significantly more clout over forestry in British Columbia after a court ruling that foundthe provincial government renewed licences granting the right to log in public forests in northern B.C. without meaningful consultation or adequate accommodation of aboriginal interests.

Judge Neilson stated that issuing the licences was the first step in permitting the removal of a claimed resource in limited supply.

The Gitanyow is organized into eight matrilineal wilps (clans), each with their own territory. Each wilp has a hereditary chief who has authority over the group's land. Judge Neilson found that the government did not accommodate the concern that the wilp system be recognized in the licences. Logging timber in the traditional territory without reference to the wilp boundaries "could result in the effective destruction of individual wilps."

The Canadian Legal Information Institute has the full text of the judgment (2008 BCSC 1139).