Supreme Court of Canada says treaty entitled Alberta First Nation to larger reserve

The Supreme Court of Canada says an Alberta First Nation ended up with less land than it should have received under a treaty made with the Crown well over a century ago.

In a 7-0 ruling today, the top court declares the Blood Tribe was entitled to more than 162 square miles of additional territory, saying the Crown “dishonourably breached” the treaty provisions.

Members of the Blood Tribe near Lethbridge, Alta., had long argued that Canada did not fulfil a promise to set aside a reserve, promised in 1877, with an area of one square mile for each family of five people.

In its decision, the Supreme Court notes the Crown has acknowledged its breach of the land entitlement commitment.

However, the court describes the admission as an eleventh-hour concession in a protracted legal dispute.

It says a declaration the Blood Tribe was entitled to more land will serve an important role in identifying the Crown’s dishonourable conduct and helping future reconciliation efforts.