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Indigenous Treaties

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

Selected Media

Online Videos

Featured Books

Indian Treaties and Surrenders

Indian Treaties and Surrenders is an excellent reference work for anyone interested in the history of agreements between Indians and the Crown. It is the only complete collection of the actual texts of all pre-Confederation treaties, land cessions, numbered treaties, and surrenders relating to land and governance until 1890.

Volume 1 contains an index to the documents in all three volumes, arranged alphabetically by First Nation, township, and the name of the Crown's representative in the transaction. The documents in the book are arranged chronologically. Also included are reproductions of the original maps used in the negotiation of the settlements. Indian Treaties and Surrenders will be of use to land claims researchers, historians, and students. Schools will also find it a valuable source of primary documentation for both teachers and pupils in Native Studies and history classes. In an era in which the content of the agreements made between Indians and the Crown is so much in contention, this book will provide easy access to the original texts.

Indian Treaties and Surrenders

Volume 2: This significant historical work, first published in 1891 and one of three volumes in the series, is reprinted here in its original format. Indian Treaties and Surrenders is an excellent reference series for anyone interested in the history of agreements between Indians and the Crown. 

Indian Treaties and Surrenders

Volume 3: This significant historical work, first published in 1912 and one of three volumes in the series, is reprinted here in its original format. Indian Treaties and Surrenders is an excellent reference series for anyone interested in the history of agreements between Indians and the Crown.

Global Indigenous Politics: a Subtle Revolution by Sheryl Lightfoot

This book examines how Indigenous peoples' rights and Indigenous rights movements represent an important and often overlooked shift in international politics - a shift that powerful states are actively resisting in a multitude of ways. While Indigenous peoples are often dismissed as marginal non-state actors, this book argues that far from insignificant, global Indigenous politics is potentially forging major changes in the international system, as the implementation of Indigenous peoples' rights requires a complete re-thinking and re-ordering of sovereignty, territoriality, liberalism, and human rights.

Indigenous writes : a guide to First Nations, Métis & Inuit issues in Canada by Chelsea Vowel

In Indigenous Writes, Chelsea Vowel initiates myriad conversations about the relationship between Indigenous peoples and Canada. An advocate for Indigenous worldviews, the author discusses the fundamental issues--the terminology of relationships; culture and identity; myth-busting; state violence; and land, learning, law and treaties--along with wider social beliefs about these issues. She answers the questions that many people have on these topics to spark further conversations at home, in the classroom, and in the larger community.

The Oxford handbook of the Canadian constitution edited by Peter Oliver, Patrick Macklem, and Nathalie Des Rosiers

The Handbook is divided into six Parts: Constitutional History, Institutions and Constitutional Change, Indigenous Peoples and the Canadian Constitution, Federalism, Rights and Freedoms, and Constitutional Theory. Readers of this Handbook will discover some of the distinctive features of the Canadian Constitution: for example, the importance of Indigenous peoples and legal systems, the long-standing presence of a French-speaking population, French civil law and Quebec, the British constitutional heritage, and the choice of federalism, as well as the newer features, most notably the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, section 35 regarding Aboriginal rights and treaties, and the procedures for constitutional amendment. 

Aboriginal and Treaty Rights in Canada: Essays on Law, Equality, and Respect for Difference edited by Michael Asch

In the last two decades there has been positive change in how the Canadian legal system defines Aboriginal and treaty rights. Yet even after the recognition of those rights in the Constitution Act of 1982, the legacy of British values and institutions as well as colonial doctrine still shape how the legal system identifies and interprets Aboriginal and treaty rights. The eight essays in Aboriginal and Treaty Rights in Canada focus on redressing this bias. All of them apply contemporary knowledge of historical events as well as current legal and cultural theory in an attempt to level the playing field. 

Compact, Contract, Covenant: Aboriginal Treaty-Making in Canada by J.R. Miller

Compact, contract, covenant is renowned historian of Native-newcomer relations J.R. Miller's exploration and explanation of more than four centuries of treaty-making. The first historical account of treaty-making in Canada, Miller untangles the complicate threads of treaties, pacts, and arrangements with the Hudson's Bay Company and the Crown, as well as modern treaties, to provide a remarkably clear and comprehensive overview of this little-understood and vitally important relationship.

An Overview of Aboriginal and Treaty Rights and Compensation for their Breach by Robert Mainville

In this book, Robert Mainville examines Aboriginal and treaty rights in an historical and legal context, explaining their origins and reviewing major Canadian court decisions that have defined Aboriginal rights. The author points out that Aboriginal rights include more than Aboriginal title, and stresses the fiduciary relationships between the federal government and Aboriginal Peoples. He also discusses the impact ofd the Canadian Constitution on Aboriginal rights, and the limits to the government`s ability to infringe upon Aboriginal and treaty rights. 

Aboriginal law : Supreme Court of Canada decisions and annotations by Thomas Isaac, B.A., M.A., LL.B., LL.M of the Bars of Alberta, British Columbia, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Yukon

The full-text of each carefully chosen, landmark decision is presented in its entirety, with an introductory remark by a renowned authority in Canadian Aboriginal law that places each decision into context. A quick and convenient reference whether conducting research, dealing with clients, or learning about this area of law as students, this publication is also an excellent companion volume to Aboriginal Law, Fifth Edition, following the same chapter headings for ease of reference.

Canada's First Nations: a History of Founding Peoples from Earliest Times by Olive Patricia Dickason

This text describes how Canada's Aboriginal peoples were radically altered by the arrival of Europeans. They fought as allies beside the French and English during the battles of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; they were hunted to the point of extermination in Newfoundland; and their numbers were decimated by European diseases. In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries Canada tried to legislate Aboriginal cultures out of existence, as the official assumption remained that assimilation would bring an end to any Indian "Problem."

Canada's Indigenous constitution by John Borrows

Canada's Indigenous Constitution reflects on the nature and sources of law in Canada, beginning with the conviction that the Canadian legal system has helped to engender the high level of wealth and security enjoyed by people across the country. However, longstanding disputes about the origins, legitimacy, and applicability of certain aspects of the legal system have led John Borrows to argue that Canada's constitution is incomplete without a broader acceptance of Indigenous legal traditions.With characteristic richness and eloquence, John Borrows explores legal traditions, the role of governments and courts, and the prospect of a multi-juridical legal culture, all with a view to understanding and improving legal processes in Canada. He discusses the place of individuals, families, and communities in recovering and extending the role of Indigenous law within both Indigenous communities and Canadian society more broadly.

Beginning Your Search

To find books & media at UBC: 

1) Search Summon: a general starting point to find the majority of UBC Library's collections. 

  • Summon Tutorial
  • For books, e-books, scholarly journals and articles, newspaper articles, dissertations and theses, videos, images, maps, manuscripts, music scores, digitized items and more

2) Search UBC Catalogue:

  • Catalogue Tutorial
  • For e-books, government reports, newspapers, newspapers, CDs, DVDs, maps, musical scores, microforms, and more

3) Search UBC Archives, Reading Rooms, and Bibliographies:

  • For audiovisual materials in UBC Archives and selected subject-specific bibliographies of local interest in UBC Bibliographies

Keyword Searches and Phrases

Step 1:

Use Simple Keywords:

  • "First Nations"
  • Aboriginal
  • Indigenous
  • "Indians of North America"

For more information on terminology please see Indigenous Foundations

Step 2:

Use the Simple Keywords above with the following techniques to narrow or broaden your search:

a) Truncate: allows you to search for a keyword and variations in spelling of that word.

  • Example: educate, education, educational
  • To truncate:
    • Summon: educat*
    • Catalogue: educat?

b) Boolean: allows you to connect multiple keywords to broaden or narrow your search.

  • Example: Aboriginal AND Treaty (this would narrow your search)
  • Example: Aboriginal OR Treaty (this would broaden your search)
  • Example: Aboriginal NOT Treaty (this would narrow your search)

For more information on Truncating and Boolean searches click here

c) Phrase: allows you to search phrases instead of keywords.

  • Example: "First Nations" rather than First and Nation
  • Example: "Public Education" rather than Public and Education

Finding Materials in the UBC Catalogue

Try these basic strategies to begin your research in the UBC Library Catalogue.

Keyword Searches

Combine keywords about your topic AND keywords relating to the concept of Indigenous identity. For example:

  • "First Nations"
  • Indigenous
  • Aboriginal
  • Indian
  • Native
  • Inuit
  • Métis



  • Treat?
  • "Treaty making"
  • "Treaty process"
  • "Self determination"
  • "Historic Treaties"
  • "Numbered Treaties"
  • "Modern Treaties"
  • "Comprehensive Claims"
  • "Treaty 5" or "Treaty five"


Helpful Hints for Keyword Searches

  • Use quotation marks to search for a phrase.
    Example: "First Nations"
  • Use a question mark to truncate a term to search for words with the same stem.
    Example: Aborig? retrieves Aboriginal, Aboriginals, Aborigine, etc. 

Try these basic strategies to begin your research in the UBC Library Catalogue.

Browse Call Numbers

Xwi7xwa Library uses a unique Classification SchemeCome by the library to browse the shelves or search for the following call numbers on our online catalogue.

See call numbers beginning with AM for materials on legal cases:

See call numbers beginning with J for materials on constitution (Canada) and First Nations:

See call numbers beginning with K for materials on self government:

See call numbers beginning with M for materials on rights and titles:


Search the UBC Catalogue

TIP: If you limit your search to Location: X̱wi7x̱wa Library, you do not need to use keywords like "Indigenous" because our collection centres Indigenous scholarship and perspectives. You will retrieve fewer results, which means you may exclude some relevant materials, but it also means you will not have to sift through pages of results that have little to do with Indigeneity.