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Aboriginal Treaties

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

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Unceded Territory

Most, but not all, of British Columbia is on unceded territory. This means that the majority of Indigenous peoples in BC never surrendered their lands through treaty or war.

UBC is located on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) people.

  • Click here for their community page.
  • Click here for information on UBC and Musqueam history.
  • Land acknowledgements are common at UBC; click here for more information.

Vancouver and surrounding areas are also on the unceded territory of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations.

  • Click here for a newspaper article on the City of Vancouver's official acknowledgment of the unceded Indigenous territories on which the city sits.

Sessions

Governance and Land Claims in British Columbia: a series in 8 sessions

Disc 1 - Session #1: Introduction and Opening Statements 

Disc 2 - Session #2: Historical Perspectives 

Disc 3 - Session #3: Legal History - The Major Cases 

Disc 4 - Session #4: The Treaty Process - Specific Cases 

Disc 5 - Session #5: Consultation and Development, Part 1 

Disc 6 - Session #6: Sovereignty and Government 

Disc 7 - Session #7: Consultation and Development, Part 2 

Disc 8 - Session #8: Concluding Session - Civil Disobedience 

Disc 9 - Interactive Video/Transcript Viewer 

Disc 10 - Transcript CD

Also available online at: https://indigenousfoundations.arts.ubc.ca/governance_and_land_claims/ 

Xwi7xwa Library Guide

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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 X̱wi7x̱wa 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).