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Aboriginal Treaties

An introduction to treaties in BC and Canada, and Métis settlements.

Getting Started

"From the eighteenth to the early twentieth centuries, Crown representatives and leaders of Aboriginal communities signed treaties throughout most of Canada in an effort to resolve issues of outstanding Aboriginal title. [...] Crown representatives interpreted these treaties as a “blanket extinguishment” of Aboriginal title. However, many have argued that at the time the treaties were negotiated, Aboriginal signatories did not understand the treaties as limiting or extinguishing their title."

[From Indigenous Foundations]

Pre-Contact & Early Post-Contact

To understand treaties (both historical and modern/comprehensive) it is important to understand the nation-to-nation relationships built between Canada and First Nations over time, as well as treaty-making processes that pre-date colonization. The following resources contribute to this understanding:

Understanding New Relationship between Canada and First Nations

IMPORTANT: Many of the links provided are from Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC). In August of 2017, the government announced INAC would be dissolved into Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada and Indigenous Services Canada. If any of the links do not work, please notify Xwi7xwa Library and we will fix them as soon as possible.

Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) will be split into two bodies, each with a distinct set of responsibilities: 

Government of Canada

Non-Governmental Organizations

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP)

The Jay Treaty (1794)

"Since 1794, Aboriginal Peoples have been guaranteed the right to trade and travel between the United States and Canada, which was then a territory of Great Britain. This right is recognized in Article III of the Jay Treaty, also known as the Treaty of Amity, Commerce and Navigation of 1794 and subsequent laws that stem from the Jay Treaty." 

[From Pine Tree Legal Assistance]