Making Place for Space: Site-specific Land Use and Occupancy Studies in the Context of the Supreme Court of Canada’s Tsilhqot'in Decision

Thomas McIlwraith, Raymond Cormier


As a method of recording Indigenous uses of the land, traditional land use mapping is a fixture in resource development-related consultation. In light of the recent Tsilhqot’in Decision in the Supreme Court of Canada, we argue that traditional land use documentation must move beyond the mapping of individual sites. Such work must consider the contexts in which Indigenous peoples use their traditional lands and as well as local, Indigenous concepts of management and governance. Drawing on an example of from Secwepemc territory in south-central British Columbia, we argue that the Tsilhqot’in Decision gives legal support to a more nuanced conception of the places of cultural significance to Indigenous peoples. We demonstrate further that the “spaces” between the places on traditional land use maps must be brought to the fore in development-related consultation.


traditional land use, land use and occupancy mapping, Secwepemc, methodology, Tsilhqot’in Decision, place, cultural landscape, natural resources, land policies, aboriginal rights, maps

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ISSN 0005-2949

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