The Question of Land
When Douglas retired in 1864, to be replaced by Joseph Trutch as Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works, land policy continued its native oppression. The effect was profound.
Trutch was one of a long string of British Columbians who did not recognize aboriginal rights and title (Tennant and Fisher). He reinterpreted Douglas's actions in order to reduce the land allotment to natives. His fixed conception of natives' needs, culture, and history cemented his belief that they had little use or need of the land. Legal rights never entered the discussion. He called for large and liberal grants to settlers with no compensation to native people. In 1865, the Land Ordinance granted Europeans 160 acres of preempted land with 480 acres for purchase while native families were restricted to 10 acres. In 1866, preemption of land by natives was denied.