Skip to Main Content

Aboriginal Treaties

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

Getting Started

Historic treaties refer to treaties negotiated between 1701-1923. For transcripts of the treaties listed below see Treaty Texts from the Government of Canada.

Image result for historical canadian treaties

Map retrieved from Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada.            

Treaties of Peace & Neutrality (1701-1760)

Peace & Friendship Treaties (1725-1779)

Signed between the L'nu (Mi'gmaq, Micmac, Mi'kmaq), Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet, Malicite), and British. ​

Royal Proclamation of 1763

"[A] foundational document in the relationship between First Nations people and the Crown and laid the basis for Canada's territorial evolution" (From Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada). 

"Most Indigenous and legal scholars recognize the Royal Proclamation as an important first step toward the recognition of existing Aboriginal rights and title, including the right to self-determination" (From Indigenous Foundations).

The Robinson-Superior and Robinson-Huron Treaties (concluded 1850)

In the 1840s, miners and prospectors arrived in unceded Anishinaabe territory. Following violent clashes, the federal government sent in William Benjamin Robinson to negotiate treaties. The Huron nations refused the original terms, so treaty was made first with the Lake Superior nations. Lake Huron nations followed afterward. The model of the Robinson treaties became the blueprint for the rest of the historic treaties moving forward.

Douglas Treaties (1850-1854)

Also known as the Vancouver Island Treaties and the Victoria Treaties. From 1850-1854, Governor James Douglas negotiated a series of fourteen treaties from Indigenous nations around Fort Victoria, Fort Rupert, and Nanaimo. The signatory tribes include: Teechamitsa, Kosampson, Whyomilth, Swengwhung, Chilcowitch, Che-ko-nein, Ka-ky-aakan, Chewhaytsum, T’Sou-ke, Saanich (South), Saanich (North), Saalequun, Queackar, and Quakiolth. The present day Douglas Treaty First Nations (as recognized by the provincial and federal government) include the Esquimalt, Songhees, Sc'ianew (Becher Bay​​)​, T'Sou-ke, Tsawout, Tsartlip, Pauqhachin, Tseycum, Snuneymuxw, Kwakiutl, Malahat, Nanoose, Namgis, K'ómoks, and Gwa'sala-'Nakwaxda'xw​.​​

Colonial authorities thought of these treaties as simple land transactions between the First Nations of the island and the British Crown.  These treaties were negotiated and agreed to through oral discussions and only put in written form afterwards.

And, how the newly arrived people recognized our responsibilities to the land. And, that with the new beginning that we would live on these lands with respectful relationship with one another. The W̱SÁNEĆ and the White People.

STOLȻEŁ John Elliott, Sr.'s translation of the W̱SÁNEĆ treaty with James Douglas. In .

 In 1850 the Kwixa and Kwakiutl worked out agreements with the HBC commonly known as the Douglas Treaties. The treaty allotted them eight reserves.

Numbered Treaties (1871-1921)

There are 11 treaties that were negotiated between 1871 and 1921, referred to as the Numbered Treaties.

Upper Canada Land Surrenders (1781-1862) & Williams Treaties (1923)

Fifteen land surrenders took place from 1783 to 1812 in Southern and Central Ontario.

Other Treaties

Treaty of Paris (1763)

  • The Treaty of Paris was signed by the colonial powers of France, Britain, and Spain. France ceded colonial territories in North America to Britain, creating the basis for the modern nation state of Canada. 
  • The Canadian Encyclopedia provides a summary of the Treaty of Paris.

Peguis-Selkirk Treaty (1817)

  • The Peguis-Selkirk Treaty was signed by five chiefs and Lord Selkirk in the area that is now known as the Red River Valley of Manitoba.
  • The website Peguis-Selkirk 200 Years commemorates the anniversary of the treaty-signing and provides information related to the treaty.