Series GR-3481 - Delgamuukw court records

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Delgamuukw court records

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  • textual record
  • electronic

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on contents of series

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  • 1985-1991 (Creation)
    British Columbia. Supreme Court (Smithers)

Physical description area

Physical description

5.7 m textual records, 5- 5 1/4 inch floppy disks

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Biographical history

In 1920 the British Columbia government established a Supreme Court registry at Smithers; it was approved and ordered by Order-in-Council #2005-1920, dated November 6, 1920.

To this date (March 2016) the Smithers Registry of the Supreme Court continues as an active registry.

Custodial history

Scope and content

The series consists of transcripts of court proceedings, cross-examinations, examination of discovery, exhibit indices, closing statements, briefs, and reasons for judgement of Delgamuukw v. The Queen. The case was heard in the Smithers Supreme Court between 1987 and 1989 (case file 0843). Following the hearings in Smithers, the case reached the BC Court of Appeal and eventually made its way to the Supreme Court of Canada where a landmark ruling was finally issued in 1997.

The transcripts of the proceedings at trial, which consist of 369 spiral-bound volumes, provide a wealth of information on First Nations genealogies, traditional resource knowledge, and language, as well as details of the extent of traditional territories. The series consists of more than 23,000 pages of trial transcript and includes the testimonies of more than 60 witnesses. The series also includes the reasons for judgment. Gitxsan hereditary chief Delgamuukw (Albert Tait), who filed the Statement of Claim, passed away shortly before the trial opened in 1987 and was succeeded by Kenneth Muldoe who was in turn succeeded by his brother, artist Earl Muldon. The claim covered 133 traditional territories, which amounted to 58,000 square kilometers of northwestern British Columbia. Peter R Grant served as lead counsel for the Gitxan and Wet-suwet'en chiefs, and D.M.M. Goldie served as lead counsel for the Province.

The files are arranged as they arrived from the Smithers court registry. Boxes 1 to 13 contain the proceedings at trial. Boxes 16 and 17 include lists of exhibits which provide information on relevant archival collections held in repositories across the province.

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Physical condition

Plastic coil binding removed from bound volumes and records rehoused in acid-free folders.

Boxes were originally overpacked so files have been shifted.

Immediate source of acquisition

Transferred from the Ministry of Justice in January 2016.


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Restrictions on access

No restrictions. Records were heavily used in the court registry.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Associated materials

See also GR-2097 (Reasons for Judgement)
The University of British Columbia's Rare Books and Special Collections holds a further 28 meters of textual records, photographs, VHS recordings, audio cassettes and maps in RBSC-ARC-1749.

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General note

Accession number(s) : 83-1709

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