Treaties And the Indian Act
Treaties • What treaty covers the area in which we live? • Refer to the map on page 31 of the text
Aboriginal people and the land • Aboriginal people have a special relationship with the land. • It is their source of identity, spiritual power, and their economic well being. • Aboriginal people see the land differently that Europeans. • Europeans saw the land as uninhabited and claimed it. The kings then gave it to companies like HBC without the permission or knowledge of aboriginal people.
Proclamation of 1763 • When the British took control in 1763 they recognized that the First Nations had a claim to it and that non-Aboriginals had to “buy out” this claim • Proclamation of 1763 • laid out the boundries of the colonies • All land to the north and west not already granted to someone else remained in Aboriginal possesion and could not be settled without their permission.
British retained ownership of the land; the British were only allowing Aboriginals to occupy and use the land. • However implementation of this policy was spotty. • In Quebec they set aside land for the aboriginals, but did not compensate them for it. • No land agreements in the Maritimes • ON land claims were recognized and land purchased
Creation of treaties • 1850 treaty making began in ON for Land north of lakes Huron and Superior • The Robinson-Huron and Robinson-Superior Treaties • Ojibwa receive • Special reserve areas • Annual cash payments • Hinting and fishing rights
The numbered Treaties • 1870 treaty making begins in Western Canada as settlement pushes west • Treaty One in southern Manitoba was negotiated at Lower Fort Garry with Ojibwa and Cree
Terms of the treaty • $3 per aboriginal person / $15 for family of five • 64 ha of reserve land for each family • A school on each reserve
Controversy • Supposedly the government verbally promised agricultural implements, livestock, and clothing and hunting and fishing rights but these never made it into the document • To resolve Ottawa increases the payment to $5 and provides initial livestock and farming equipment
Why the confusion... Still? • The government saw the treaties as a way to clear any obstacle to settlement. A transaction or agreement between the two groups where goods were exchanged for the land • Aboriginal people didn’t see the land as theirs to sell or give away, they thought they were agreeing to let newcomers share the land with them.
Why sign in the first place? • Food was scarce, buffalo disappearing, they needed the money and supplies • They thought they were safeguarding their rights and were offered support for the transition to a new way of life.
Land and the Métis • The Métis were not part of the treaties • When Manitoba was formed they were given land but for various reasons it ended up in the hands of the settlers. • Métis were pushed west and into the margins of society • Eventually several Métis colonies were formed in an effort to establish them as farmers and improve their living conditions
Indian Act • In 1876, the Canadian Government passed the Indian Act to accomplish the following objectives: • Register all Indians. This controlled who was a 'status Indian'. • It took away from Indian people the right to determine their own membership. • It denied citizenship and the vote to Indians.
Indian Act • It attempted to 'civilize' (assimilate) Indians. • It controlled the movement of Indians by introducing a 'pass system' to keep First Nations people on reserves without a 'pass' (permission slip granted by a Government Indian Agent). • Its main focus was to assimilate Indian people by: • denying the use of First Nations languages; and, • outlawing the practice of First Nations culture (Potlatch laws). • It isolated Indian people because of the colonialist belief that they were simple, to be treated like minor children, and must be protected from non-Indians. • All this was done without consulting the aboriginal people