This year, there are many celebrations for Canada’s 150th birthday. What we are really commemorating is the British North America Act 1867 (BNA Act 1867) which established our country’s Constitution. The BNA Act 1867 has since been renamed the Constitution Act 1982 after the repatriation of our Constitution from Great Britain.
Ministers’ Working Group
One aspect of Canada’s 150th birthday is that, this year, the federal government has undertaken a review of laws and policies related to indigenous peoples. A Ministers’ Working Group “will examine relevant federal laws, policies, and operational practices to help ensure the Crown is meeting its constitutional obligations with respect to Aboriginal and treaty rights”. There are constitutional rights established in our constitutional documents which the Minister’s Working Group might want to have a good look at, which I will highlight later in this article as it pertains to the land question in regards to Canada’s indigenous peoples.
It brings me great pride that I was born in the year of Canada’s centennial birthday in New Westminster B.C. where I have written this article. Fifty years later, I have made my birthplace my home and practice law in Greater Vancouver. I have ancestral roots that extend to the Ktunaxa territory in southeast B.C. I am a member of the Ktunaxa First Nation, but going beyond that, my ancestral roots can be traced to Scotland, Ireland, England, Germany, Switzerland, and France. My seventh-generation great-grandfather, Mr. Francois Morigeau, immigrated from around Montreal to the Columbia Valley decades before Canada’s confederation in 1867.
My French ancestry can be traced to 1666 in New France, now Quebec, where the Morigeau’s originated from. I have an ancestor who was a member of the Carignan Salières Regiment and he married one of France’s “King’s daughters”, les Filles du Roi. My ancestors, the Morigeaus, stem from Jean Pierre Forgues and Marie Robineau who married 349 years ago at New France in Notre-Dame de Québec Basilica-Cathedral, Quebec City, Quebec Canada, the first parish church in North America.
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