The Supreme Court of Canada has sided with a British Columbia First Nation in a dispute over its traditional lands.

In a decision released Friday, the top court has restored a tribunal's decision in favour of the Williams Lake Indian Band, which had argued the pre-Confederation colony of British Columbia failed to protect its territory from encroaching settlers.

The band also said Canada neglected to adequately remedy the wrong after B.C. joined Confederation in 1871.

Instead of reclaiming the band's ancestral village lands, Canada set aside different, nearby territory for the First Nation.

In 2014, the federal Specific Claims Tribunal upheld the band's arguments concerning the original lands, finding that both the colony and Canada had breached their duties.

Two years ago, the Federal Court of Appeal overturned the tribunal's decision, concluding that Canada's post-Confederation actions were sufficient.