Heritage Status? Indian Landfill?

Note: The title of this post is taken from the comments that were posted in the globe and mail article. Check out the article’s comments HERE.

This new post can be traced back to one of my first posts titled Helpless.

In my post I highlight the fact that Aboriginal title or rights claim are not a registerable interest:

At time of publication of Prof. Marguerite E. Moore’s Title Searching & Conveyancing in Ontario 6th ed. (April 2010), the Registry Act and the Land Titles Act “do not recognize Aboriginal Title or rights claims to be a registerable interest…[making] it extremely difficult to search for and [sic] identity potential Aboriginal claims.” (p. 503, Moore 2010).

And most recently, globe and mail article titled Widow Loses Court Challenge In Fight Over Heritage Status of Property. The title says it all. However in the article, it states even more,

“There was nothing on the land title to indicate the property had any archeological significance and it wasn’t registered as a heritage site.”

If land with Aboriginal interest is not registerable on titled in Ontario, I am sure that other provinces operate the same way. Just look at Oka, and other land claim disputes that occur across Canada. Wasn’t there a resort out west that had a public sign that shouted, “No Indians Allowed”? I believe so. With this post, let’s not go there.

There should be some sort of recognition of Aboriginal interest on title to land, even if it’s not registered/registerable. It should at least alert its owners or future owners when title is transferred, just like any registerable interest. It will probably avoid situations like this, and future situations that have current or future Aboriginal land claim/heritage (Never even heard of “Heritage Status” until now). Then maybe, it would lead to less dramatic disputes, and less court fees for everyone. Then maybe, the Aboriginals won’t look so much like the “bad guy” fighting for their land.

However, I can get why Aboriginal interest is not registerable on title. Some Land Claims can become pretty complicated, and take years to settle (Having to register Aboriginal interest may scare off potential buyers and reduce development…so it’s better in the long run to just develop on the land, deal with land claims later…instead of now). Did I also mention I suck at sarcasm?

But there should at least be some sort of caution on title, if current legislation isn’t going to validate it. Just a few simple words notifying purchasers/sellers to caution that there is an Aboriginal Interest on title. It may help reduce conflict…maybe?

Just a little suggestion.

PS. I know that this article has everything to do with the Heritage Conservation Act, and not Land Titles and that the incidence occurs in BC…but the fact that this land was not registered as a Heritage site and that the buyers were not aware of the land/site’s significance should be of importance–that means the land/site’s significant importance was not indicated on Title, like any other registerable interest. Heritage status, or Aboriginal interest. When I read this article, to me the bad guy in this picture appears to be none other than the Aboriginals. I wonder if this article could have been written without having to mention that it was an “Aboriginal site”? Just look at the comments under the article. I bet those would not be there if the word “Aboriginal” was not anywhere in the article.

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