"The evolution and development of the federal government's land claims policy has been closely linked to court decisions. The first claims policy statement in 1973 was initiated by a decision of the Supreme Court of Canada (the 1973 Calder decision) which acknowledged the existence of Aboriginal title in Canadian law" (i).
"[C]laims were divided into two types:
1) comprehensive claims - based on the concept of continuing Aboriginal rights and title which have not been dealt with by treaty or other legal means; and
2) specific claims - arising from alleged non-fulfilment of Indian treaties and other lawful obligations, or the improper administration of lands and other assets under the Indian Act or formal agreements" (i).
"The comprehensive claims process is intended to lead to agreement on the special rights Aboriginal peoples will have in the future with respect to lands and resources. It is not an attempt to define what rights they may have had in the past. Negotiated comprehensive claims settlements provide for the exchange of undefined Aboriginal rights over an area of traditional use and continuing occupancy, for a clearly defined package of rights and benefits codified in a constitutionally protected settlement agreement" (5).