The pleadings of the Duncc-za and Cree Indians on a fiduciary claim on January 12th 1987, which is known as “Aspassin versus the Queen”, basically evolved from Robin Riddington’s (1988) case presentation. In this regard, the article, Cultures in Conflict: the Problem of Discourse, laid down the question as to whether the court should resolve the case or just reproduce it.
Basically, this paper will examine and analyze the underlying circumstances in the presented case. Review of Literature The Aspassin v. The Queen lawsuit was a legal claim from the Government of Canada by two Indian Chiefs, Joseph Aspassin and Gerry Attachie, who served as representatives of Blueberry River and Doig River bands of the Duncc-za and Cree Indian tribes. The claim historically referred to the Indian Act, Treaty No.
8 of 1899 (Riddington, 1988). The claimant’s counsel pleaded the Court to merit the fiduciary obligation emanating from the September 22nd 1945 meeting proceedings of authenticated documents from British Columbia to corroborate the evidence that suggested that the Department of Indian Affairs deviated from the proper transferring of title to the legal claimants and instead was awarded by the Veterans Land Administration to the soldier’s settlement program.
Based on the decision of Justice Dixon of the Supreme Court of Canada, it was concurred that a breach of fiduciary obligation of the Federal Crown has resulted in the failure the granting of the estate to its legal claimants and real heirs. The claim was incorporated with the legal claimant’s and heirs’ uncompromised land use of the estate wherein the Indians’ primitive economic sourcing are fishing, hunting, and trapping only. In effect, a surrendering requirement for the land use must be enjoined and be recognized by the Court.
However, on November 4th 1987, the claim became futile by the Court’s dismissal for the reasons that the Indians were grossly handicapped to be able develop the estate for a progressive and sustainable economic base. Testimonial Findings The September 1945 occupancy of the IR-72, Indians’ land, which called as a place where happiness dwells, was purposely for exploration of mineral resources, wherein the band of Indians area were promised by the government to be compensated with a initially payment of $10 each.
The governments has then continuously engaged in oil and gas mining and expanded areas of exploration all throughout Fort St. John by encouraging Indian families to sell their landholdings. Moreover, the trial has extensively addressed the pleadings on the problem of discourse as it may affect to the Court’s interpretation of the issue.
In addition, the cross-examination of the witnesses, involving elders of the Duncc-za and Cree Indians, have supported and merited the articulation of their counsel. In effect, the Supreme Court has derived its decision together with its recognition on the breach of fiduciary obligation by the Federal Crown, as likewise addressed to the Canadian Government being the liable government entity in the transition of estate’s the transfer to the questioned beneficiaries. Merits of Articulation
The merits of articulation of the claimant’s counsels, Leslie Pinder and Arthur Pape, was supplemented in the case proceeding and substantiated the Supreme Court decision, which was acknowledged as a matter of legal inquiry and argument on the fiduciary obligation of the Federal Crown, so that the Canadian Government would recognize the “surrender requirement” in the Indian Act in order to prevent further mediation and meddling with the claimant. In other words, the Federal Crown has duly surrendered the claim without compromise of conveyance and meddling over the claimant’s disposition for the use of the estate that has been re-claimed.
Further implied on the merits of articulation by the claimant’s counsels was their presumption that a problem of discourse was “central” to the case. It implied that the discourse, as a matter of understanding, traverses with different recognition, interpretation and way of thinking from cultural perspectives. In this connection, the Supreme Court has interpreted and understood the merits of articulation on the land use with inadequate consideration to the cultural life of the Indians.
In other words, the Supreme Court’s decisions was solely meant for the Indians to able live their economic lives in what they called “the place where happiness dwells”, as referred to the estate being an economic base for fishing, hunting, and trapping. Adverse Claim The Supreme Court decision in dismissing the claim favors the government’s occupancy to landholdings of ancestral domain. It may be noted that the estate, upon deviation of land transfer to the soldiers land program by the Veterans Land Administration, has had oil reserve dated back from 1950’s to 1960’s.
In which case, the merits of articulation on surrendering the land without prejudice to claimants has an adverse claim on Supreme Courts decision in dismissing the case that was causal to the reason of Indian’s inability to develop the being claimed estate. Obviously, meriting the “surrendering requirement” could isolate the chances of pre-disposal to government’s exploration of land resources. Furthermore, a conflict of interest may result from the adverse claim of the Supreme Court.
The litany of the claimant’s counsels, Pinder and Pape, on the issue of “discourse” has long been acknowledged by the Supreme Court as a matter of pleading and interpellation of various witnesses and has exposed the conflict of cultures from the social lives of Indians as they were found to be unable defend themselves in legal disputes being illiterates. In short, this exposition may have further given the Court a leeway to recognize the problem of discourse and therefore discovered the incapability of Indians. The adverse claim of the Court may be interpreted in both legal and moral perceptions in social perspective.
On the first ground, acknowledging the plea of breach in fiduciary obligation of the Federal Crown, which was a disadvantage of the Canadian Government, has basically merited the claim. On the succeeding legal argument, the plea may have been in accordance to the jurisprudential aspects of claim on the issue of discourse, but upon recognition, it has resulted in the adverse claim. It may be perceived that the Court studied well the merits of articulation—from the day the trial ended on March 27th 1987 until the Court rendered decision on November 4th 1987— which is about 8 months.
To give contrast to the adverse claim, as previously presumed above, the moral obligation of the Court may have contested the issue of discourse for the reason that the Indians may be imposed with challenges on their capability to promulgate stewardship of the land, in which the witnesses have found the ability to recall or remember events then may determine how far the ability to acquire skills of making the land more productive is possible. With this pretext, the merits of articulation may have gone far from treatise on issue of discourse.
Conclusion The case of ancestral domain reclamation is a continuing issue in most countries where governments insatiably and constantly expand economic occupancy, political jurisdiction, exploration of land resources and nationalizing the overall geopolitical system. These ancestral domains are descendants of communities that have outlived the inhabitants of present societies. The tribal communities and indigenous culture pose the problem of discourse specifically brought about by conflicts of cultural heritage.
Throughout the overall discussion on this paper, the problem of discourse is presented in a complex environment of representation as it evolved in a court proceeding. The testimony of characters, as depictive of their roles, has long argued the issue of discourse, and yet the bottom line was the long struggle of the native Indians to have their place of happiness in a land taken away from them in 1945. Being native and indigenous people who have been drenched by the Whiteman’s conquest, the native Indians likewise seek their cultural identity in a land they only borrowed from their children.
Because it is the children that will continuously dwell in their place of happiness. What the trial resolve is the merit of articulation on the issue of discourse. It was conclusive that the adverse claim of the Supreme Court has been founded upon the exposition of the articulation, with so much evidence that the Indians were incapable of tilling and giving welfare for their land. The stewardship of the land may oppose the preservation of ecology—in which the Indians’ source of living depended on fishing, hunting and trapping.
Thus, it may be perceived from the Court’s decision was its moral authority that may however lie beneath the advantage of the Whiteman. Upon resolving the issue of discourse, the merit of articulation was judged by the historical struggle of the Indians in pursuit of the place where their happiness dwells. References Riddington, R. (1988). Cultures in Conflict: The Problem of Discourse. Page 273-289, International Summer Institute for Structural and Semiotic Studies (ISISSS), University of British Columbia.
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