The Queen v. Devereux

Supreme Court of Canada – [1965] S.C.R. 567

Ontario Indian ActLands reserved for Indians

Summary

The Supreme Court decides that a non-Indian is not entitled in this case to stay in possession of reserve land. It is determined to maintain reserves intact for Indians.

Issue

Was Devereux entitled to receive any proceeds from a potential sale of the farm lands he occupied and if so, as an unpaid vendor, was he allowed to remain in possession until the closing of the transaction?


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St. Ann’s Island Shooting and Fishing Club Ltd. v. The King

Supreme Court of Canada – [1950] S.C.R. 211

Ontario Aboriginal titleFiduciary dutyLands reserved for Indians

Summary

Even though it does not mention it, in a way, the St. Ann’s Island Shooting & Fishing Club was the first Supreme Court’s decision to recognize and examine fiduciary relationship between the Crown and Aboriginal (Rotman, 2003: 370). The Crown must act with diligence and care when dealing for the Indians – in this case, an Order in Council authorizing the lease cannot by constructed as giving the Superintendent-General the power to negotiate with the Club for another lease, with new conditions, more than fifty years later. If the need arise for a new lease, a new Order-in-Council on the Governor in Council’s part is needed.

Issue

Did Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs have the power to conclude a new lease with the St. Ann’s Shooting and Fishing Club, and was the surrender of the Chippewas and Pottawatomie Indians of Walpole Island total and definitive?


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Ontario Mining Company Ltd. and Attorney-General for Canada v. Seybold et al. and Attorney-General for Ontario

Judicial Committee of the Privy Council – [1903] A.C. 73

Ontario Aboriginal titleLands reserved for IndiansProperty

Summary

This decision confirms the earlier St. Catherine’s Milling ruling. Once the title is surrendered the province becomes the sole owner of the land. The Dominion had no right to grant licenses.

Issue

After the surrender of Indian lands to the Crown, can the province, in which they are situated, dispose of them without the consent of the federal government?


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Smith v. The Queen

Supreme Court of Canada – [1983] 1 S.C.R. 554

New Brunswick Jurisdiction over IndiansLands reserved for IndiansProperty

Summary

The Supreme Court applies St. Catherine’s Milling and confirms that the surrender of lands reserved for Indians extinguishes federal jurisdiction. The federal government has jurisdiction over reserved lands until they are surrendered.

Issue

Does the 1895 surrender of reserve lands by the Indians to the Crown prevent the application of s. 91(24) of the Constitution Act, 1867, and repeal the rights of the Indians?


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Osoyoos Indian Band v. Oliver (Town)

Supreme Court of Canada – [2001] 3 S.C.R. 746

British Columbia Indian ActLands reserved for IndiansTaxation

Summary

This decision confirms that Band Councils have the power to adopt property tax by-laws on expropriated reserve land, unless the Crown has stated in a clear and plain way its intention of extinguishing the aboriginal title.

Issue

Can an Indian band assess and impose a property tax on expropriated land located within the limits of its reserve?


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Westbank First Nation v. British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority

Supreme Court of Canada – [1999] 3 S.C.R. 134

British Columbia Lands reserved for IndiansTaxation

Summary

The Supreme Court gives criteria to determine whether a Band imposes “taxation” or “regulatory charge”, and whether it can charge a mandatory of the Crown.

Issue

Does section 125 of the Constitution Act, 1867 prevent an Indian band from assessing and taxing B.C. Hydro, an agent of the provincial Crown?


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St. Mary’s Indian Band v. Cranbrook (City)

Supreme Court of Canada – [1997] 2 S.C.R. 678

British Columbia Indian ActLands reserved for IndiansTaxation

Summary

When an issue regarding land transactions with Aboriginal peoples arises, it is important to look into the intention of the parties at the time of the transaction. It is important to look further than traditional common law rules.

In this case, a Band that cedes parts of its reserve in exchange for its market value cannot tax it anymore, even though the lands are to be retroceded if they cease to be used for public purposes.

Issue

Could the Band tax the City for lands ceded to the Crown in exchange for their market value, but subject to being retroceded to the Band if they cease to be used for public purposes?


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R. v. Lewis

Supreme Court of Canada – [1996] 1 S.C.R. 921

British Columbia Indian ActLands reserved for Indians

Summary

Delivered the same day as R. c. Nikal.

The Supreme Court establishes in a quite restrictive way the limits of a reserve as excluding the bed of a river, therefore refusing the Indians the right to legislate regarding these waters to regulate fishing activities. The Fisheries Act applies.

Issue

Can the Squamish Band Council’s by-law be applied outside the boundaries of the reserve, and specifically to the fishing camps and to the bed of the Squamish River?


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Musqueam Indian Band v. Glass

Supreme Court of Canada – [2000] 2 S.C.R. 633

British Columbia Lands reserved for IndiansProperty

Summary

This case was one of the firsts to have definitely reconsidered reserves territorial regime. The Court confirmed that because of their legal environment, lots on reserve are worth a lot less than those outside the reserve. Since then, and until today, aboriginal and non-aboriginal governments are still looking for a viable solution to the low value of reserve lands.

Issue

The Court must determine the meaning of the terms “current land value,” “unimproved” and “this agreement” in the Musqueam rent review clause


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Cardinal v. Attorney General of Alberta

Supreme Court of Canada – [1974] S.C.R. 695

Alberta Application of laws to AboriginalsJurisdiction over IndiansLands reserved for Indians

Summary

In this decision, the Supreme Court varied from U.S. law regarding the application of laws to Indian lands. In Canada, under certain conditions, provincial laws of general application can apply to Indians and on reserve lands.

Issue

Can a provincial law, in this case, the Wildlife Act, apply to Indians on an Indian reserve?


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