Numbered Treaties in Canada 1871-1921 Royal Proclamation of 1763 • British attempted to divide North America between Europeans and First Nations • First Nations were granted all land NOT settled to the west of Quebec What is a Treaty? • A treaty is a formal, written agreement between sovereign states or between states and international organizations. • The AFN (Assembly of First Nations) maintain that treaties were peer to peer lateral agreements between sovereignties and nothing less. But… Others maintain that the Treaties were never valid because of being: 1. coerced, accordingly not an agreement between equal partners 2. breached many times in their history by the government, notably by the Canadian Indian Residential School system and resource extraction 3. Not reached by agreement with the lawful hereditary chiefs, and especially without the involvement of women who by tradition often had final authority Where were the Numbered Treaties? Numbered Treaties 1-5 Numbered Treaties 6-7 Numbered Treaties 8-11 What is the pattern? • Westward movement? • Why… Why were they negotiated? Canadian Government Perspective: • Administration of Rupert’s Land and the North-Western Territory was transferred to the Canadian Government in 1869 • Canadian Law (RP 1763) recognized FNP had title to the land • Settlement could not take place if title was not transferred • Vital to the “National Dream” that title be transferred So… • Each treaty delineated a specific tract of land whose title was held by a First Nation • In exchange for surrendering their rights to the land, First nations were promised a smaller parcel of land as a reserve, annual annuity payments, implements to either farm or hunt and fish and the right to continue to hunt and trap or hunt, trap and fish on the tract surrendered. Why would First Nations agree to this? First Nations peoples had been decimated by: • disease outbreaks • the near-extinction of the plains bison • Whiskey traders • They were eager to receive aid from goverment Another Response… • Red River Rebellion (1870) • Northwest Rebellion (1885) Historical Question • Was this a “submit or starve” policy? • How would they be negotiated today?