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A Timeline of Aboriginal Treaties in Canada

An activity for use with the Canada in the Making site

Student Guide

The history of treaty process in Canada has gone through several stages. This activity will give you the opportunity to look at a range of treaties (and the context surrounding them) from the period of New France to the present. You will analyze these primary sources (historical documents) and draw conclusions about what was really intended or hoped for in these treaties - and whether these hopes were realized. You will make a presentation of your findings and contribute to a timeline of documents and events.

The first part of this activity is to create a timeline of important documents. Though there have been many constitutional amendments over the years, some documents stand out. You will be looking at documents available in the different sections of the Aboriginals: Treaties and Relations portion of this Web site.

1. 1499-1779: From First Contact to the Peace and Friendship Treaties
URL: http://www.canadiana.org/citm/themes/aboriginals/aboriginals2_e.html
2. 1763-1791:The Royal Proclamation, 1763, and Québec Act, 1774
URL: http://www.canadiana.org/citm/themes/aboriginals/aboriginals3_e.html
3. 1764-1836: Pre-Confederation Treaties I
URL: http://www.canadiana.org/citm/themes/aboriginals/aboriginals4_e.html
4. 1811-1867: Pre-Confederation Treaties II
URL: http://www.canadiana.org/citm/themes/aboriginals/aboriginals5_e.html
5. 1867-1870: The British North America Act, 1867, and Sale of Selkirk Treaty Lands
URL: http://www.canadiana.org/citm/themes/aboriginals/aboriginals6_e.html
6. The First Five Numbered Treaties
URL: http://www.canadiana.org/citm/themes/aboriginals/aboriginals7_e.html
7. The Indian Act, 1876
URL: http://www.canadiana.org/citm/themes/aboriginals/aboriginals8_e.html
8. Numbered Treaties Six and Seven
URL: http://www.canadiana.org/citm/themes/aboriginals/aboriginals8_e.html
9. Last of the Numbered Treaties
URL: http://www.canadiana.org/citm/themes/aboriginals/aboriginals10_e.html
10. The Williams Treaties and Land Transfer Agreements
URL: http://www.canadiana.org/citm/themes/aboriginals/aboriginal11_e.html
11. The Aboriginal Rights Movement
URL: http://www.canadiana.org/citm/themes/aboriginals/aboriginals12_e.html
12. Constitutional Reforms and Crises
URL: http://www.canadiana.org/citm/themes/aboriginals/aboriginals13_e.html

For each of these sections, you will need to research and present information all of the following, if applicable:

  • What was the most important document or documents of the period cover in your section?
    In some sections, there are documents that may have had more historical importance than others. Identify the m and use them to answer the questions below.

  • The major issue or events addressed by the document.
    What events led to the document or documents in this section? Briefly describe them. For example, were the negotiators trying to settle a long conflict, gain allies, or transferring the rights to land so that Europeans could settle and Aboriginals could gain other perceived benefits?

  • If there was a theme (or themes) behind treaties and other documents in this era, what would it be? Consider both the Aboriginal and European perspective.
    Some suggestions:

    • Gaining a peaceful settlement to a long conflict.

    • Finding ways to co-exist.

    • Opening land for European settlement.

    • Getting the materials to survive.


  • Where do these events and documents fit into the current state of Aboriginal relations with federal and provincial governments? Explain which of the following key issues - and there may be more -the treaties in your section relate to today.

    • Hunting and fishing rights
    • Land and resource rights
    • Self-government
    • Health care

    Describe how they relate. For example, for what reason do Aboriginals claim that they have land rights?

  • How did these documents affect the relationship between the Aboriginal peoples who signed and the French or British colonial authorities, or the Canadian government?

  • Was there anything that might offend certain Aboriginals today?
    Note what they are, and why they would be offensive.

Discuss all answers with your group. Put your answers on a sheet of paper and create a timeline that looks something like this:

Example of Timeline

Your work may be presented in point form or as paragraphs. The use of illustrations is encouraged.


Note on Sources

Primary sources
Primary sources represent the most authentic resources that historians can draw upon. The documents that you will be using below may be digitized, but are still considered primary sources. Try to use the sources available on the "Canada's Constitutional History" portion of the Canada in the Making Web site to strengthen your arguments.

For tips on how to use primary sources, go to the "Using Primary Sources in Your Work" page.
URL: http://www.canadiana.org/citm/guide/essay_e.html

Secondary sources
Secondary sources are works that interpret or analyze an historical event or phenomenon. Generally the author is at least one step removed from the event. Although not as authentic as primary sources, secondary sources are still valuable.

Possible Sources of Information Online

Note: It is important to choose sources that are produced by reputable institutions or individuals. Such information is more likely to give you a balanced, neutral view and be prepared or reviewed by experts.

Numbered Treaties

Canada in the Making: An Overview of the Numbered Treaties
URL: http://www.canadiana.org/citm/themes/constitution1_e.html

General

Canada in the Making: Aboriginals: Treaties and Relations
URL: http://www.canadiana.org/citm/themes/constitution1_e.html

The Canadian Encyclopedia
URL: http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com

Natural Resources Canada: The Atlas of Canada
URL: http://atlas.gc.ca/site/english/maps/historical/indiantreaties/historicaltreaties

Indian and Northern Affairs: The Historic Treaty Information site
URL: http://www.ainc-inac.gc.ca/pr/trts/hti/site/maindex_e.html

National Archives of Canada: Pride and Dignity
URL: http://www.archives.ca/05/0501_f.html (French)
URL: http://www.archives.ca/05/0501_e.html (English)

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