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Historical Roots

1763 Royal Proclamation by King George III who made it law that Indigenous Nations were sovereign and owned the land they used for survival. The Royal Proclamation of 1763 is available in its complete text as well as explained in this video. (8 minutes; it is so worth it!)

Prairie Perspectives

  • Numbered Treaty 4 (1874) and Treaty 6 (1876) and the identities of those who signed these treaties (laws to this day). Check it out!
  • Treaties today: The Office of the Treaty Commissioner hosts a Treaty Table in Saskatchewan 2-3 times yearly. Read all about it!
  • The Métis Story: Read about it here

National Perspectives

Indian Act 1876

Charter of Rights 1982 (preceded by the Canadian Bill of Rights 1960)

  • Your Guide to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
  • Sections 25 and 35 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms address how rights protected under the Charter will intersect with existing rights held by Canada’s Indigenous peoples. Section 25 guarantees that no rights protected under the Charter will be used to abrogate or derogate from rights belonging to Aboriginal people (including land rights and rights under the Royal Proclamation). Section 35 provides distinct recognition and affirmation of existing Aboriginal and Treaty rights. This is an important step in amalgamating common law and Aboriginal law traditions. Source


Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC)

International Perspective

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples adopted by the General Assembly in 2007. The Declaration (UNDRIP) affirms “that indigenous peoples are equal to all other peoples, while recognizing the right of all peoples to be different, to consider themselves different, and to be respected as such.” After a delay, Canada signed the declaration in 2012 and in 2015, Canada committed to implement UNDRIP.