December  13, 2022

 (xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh)/Vancouver, B.C.) The First Nations Leadership Council (FNLC) is pleased that the BC Court of Appeal (BCCA) has upheld the BC Supreme Court decision in Servatius v. Alberni School District No. 70 – and intervenor Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council.

In the case, the mother of two of the students attending a public school in Port Alberni alleged that the school infringed her Charter guaranteed freedom of religion by compelling her children to participate in religious ceremonies contrary to their own faith and by violating the principle of state neutrality. This resulted after the elementary school invited guests to demonstrate two Indigenous cultural practices; a smudging event held in a classroom and a hoop dance during which the dancer said a prayer.