November 1 was declared many years ago by the Band Council as "Musqueam Day" to recognize the legal victory achieved by the Band under the leadership of Delbert Guerin, the former chief over the federal government. The case dealt with the wrongful acts of the government in granting the lease in 1957 to the Shaughnessy Golf Club over one-third of the Band’s main reserve, the highest and best land. That lease continues until 2032 and the loss that was caused to the Band continues every day as the Club insists on relying on its terms that members of the Court considered "disgraceful".

The case went to the Supreme Court of Canada and, on November 1, 1984, the Court held that the government was in breach of its fiduciary duty to the Band in granting the lease on terms not agreed by the Band members when the surrender of the land was approved. Those terms reduced the rent to a fraction of the market amount. The case is recognized (together with the Sparrow fishing case) as a
leading case in Aboriginal law for establishing the Crown’s obligations as legally enforceable, for the recognition of a fiduciary duty (a duty to act in the best interests of the Band) and to consult and for what it said about the legal nature of Aboriginal title.


Further information about the case can be found by clicking on the links below.