||Royal Proclamation of October 1763 is signed. This document explicitly recognizes aboriginal title; aboriginal land ownership and authority are recognized by the Crown as continuing under British sovereignty. It states that only the Crown could acquire lands from First Nations and only by treaty. By the 1850s major treaties are signed with First Nations east of the Rocky Mountains. |
||Captain Cook explores the BC coast and claims British sovereignty. |
||A British Colony is established on Vancouver Island. The Hudson's Bay Company was given rights to trade by the Crown. Chief Factor Douglas was instructed to purchase First Nations land. He made 14 treaties in the area near Victoria, 1850-54. The colony ran out of money for treaties. Small reserves were created as protection from aggressive land acquisition by settlers. Under Douglas, First Nations were able to acquire land like settlers. After he retired the policy was reversed. First Nations people could not acquire Crown land. Colonial officials like Joseph Trutch said First Nations title had never been acknowledged, and no compensation was offered. |
||Fraser River Gold rush. A colony is established on the mainland of British Columbia. The influx of new immigrants changed the nature of the territory. Europeans and Americans believed that the land was empty and free for the taking. |
||One of the worst small pox epidemics sweeps British Columbia, killing one third of the First Nations population in the province. Waves of epidemics decimated First Nations populations. |
||Canada is created under the terms of the British North America Act. |
||British Columbia joins Confederation. The population was made up of a majority of First Nations people but they were given no role in the decision making process of the province. |
||The Indian Act is established. It influences all aspect of a First Nations person's life from birth to death. Indian Bands were created and Indian Agents became the intermediaries between First Nations people and the rest of the country. |
||Anti-potlatch laws were enacted under the Indian Act. Responsibility for the education of children was given in large part to church-run residential schools. There was resistance to the aggressive polices of the governments. The people retained a profound conviction that their hereditary title still exists. |
||A delegation of chiefs from Port Simpson and the Nass went to Victoria "to petition for the return of their lands" and a formal treaty guaranteeing their rights to those lands "forever." |
||Duncan Campbell Scott becomes Deputy Superintendent General of the Department of Indian Affairs. His stated objective was assimilation. He ruled the department until 1932. |
||At a protest blockade near Fort St. John, the First Nations demanded a treaty and halted the flow of miners. As a result, Treaty 8 was negotiated. |
||First Nations make application to King Edward VII to have the Privy Council determine aboriginal title. The request was denied. |
||Prime Minister Wilfred Laurier visits British Columbia. He supports recognition of aboriginal rights. There is deep division between the federal and provincial government as to the recognition of aboriginal title. |
||McKenna-McBride Royal Commission established in response to increasing pressure from new settlers in British Columbia. The Commission visited every First Nations group in the province and received applications for additional reserve lands. In some places, additional lands were reserved while in others lands were cut-off and reserves reduced in size. |
||Allied Tribes of British Columbia formed to pursue recognition of title and treaties. |
||Chief Dan Cranmer and his guests are arrested for attending his potlatch in Alert Bay. Forty-five people are convicted and 17 are sent to prison. Their ceremonial regalia was also illegally seized. |
||Indian Act amended to make it illegal for First Nations to raise money or retain a lawyer to advance land claims, thereby blocking effective political court action. |
||The Native Brotherhood of British Columbia is formed at a December meeting at Port Simpson, with delegates from Masset, Hartley Bay, Kitkatla, Port Essington and Metlakatla. |
||First Nations people in British Columbia are permitted to vote in provincial elections. |
||Parliament repeals Indian Act provisions of anti-potlatch and land claims activity. |
||First Nations people in Canada are permitted to vote in federal elections. |
||Formation of Tribal Councils throughout the province. |
||- Nisga'as go to court with the Calder case. The Supreme Court rules that the Nisga'a did hold title to their traditional lands before BC was created. The Court splits evenly on whether Nisga'a still have title. |
- The Federal government, under Prime Minister Trudeau and Minister of Indian Affairs Jean Cretien, issues its White Paper, advocating policies which promote the assimilation of First Nations people. There is nation-wide political activity to counter the White Paper.
- Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs formed.
||Indian Control of Indian Education policy document written by National Indian Brotherhood advocating parental responsibility and local control over First Nations education. This policy is accepted by federal government a year later. |
||In the Calder case, the Supreme Court rules that the Nisga'a did hold title to their traditional lands before B.C. was created. The Court splits evenly on whether Nisga'a still have title. The federal government adopts a comprehensive land claims policy. B.C. refuses to participate. |
||Increased First Nations action and the evolution of political structures. The province still will not recognize aboriginal title nor negotiate treaties. Tribal Councils continue to emerge representatives of historic tribal groups. |
||Canada's Constitutional Act, Section 35, recognizes and affirms existing Aboriginal and treaty rights. |
||The Premier's Council on Native Affairs is created to meet with First Nations and prepare recommendations to the government on a range of issues. The Ministry of Aboriginal Affair is formed, with Jack Weisgerber as Minister. |
||- Oka Crisis receives national attention when Mohawk warriors in armed stand-off with the Quebec police and Canadian army over the land at Oka. First Nations across the country rally to support the Mohawks and to emphasize their demands for recognition of inherent aboriginal title and rights. |
- Sparrow Supreme Court decision concludes that the Musqueam people's aboriginal right to fish for food and ceremonial purposed has not been extinguished.
- British Columbia agreed to join the First Nations and Canada in treaty negotiations.
- First Nations, B.C. and Canada agree to establish a task force to develop a process for land claim negotiations in B.C.
||- Chief Justice McEachern dismisses the Gitxsan-Wet'suwet'en Chiefs' claim in the case of Delgamuukw v. Her Majesty the Queen. |
- Nisga'a Tribal Council, B.C. and Canada sign a tripartite framework agreement which sets out the scope, process and topics for negotiations. This agreement is outside the treaty process which is subsequently put in place.
||First Nations Summit, Canada and B. C. establish Treaty Commission. |
||The B. C. Treaty Commission begins the treaty negotiation process. |
||The B.C. Treaty Commission, B.C. and Canada hold initial meetings with the 42 First Nations who have submitted Statements of Intent to negotiate. |
||Gustafson Lake standoff. A major military operation was directed at a small group of protesters. |
||The Nisga'a, BC and Canada sign an Agreement-In-Principle. |
||Supreme Court hands down its unanimous decision on the Delgamuukw Case. The court ruled that aboriginal title to the land had never been extinguished. The previous trial judge had erred by not accepting oral history as evidence in the case. The claim was sent back to trial, suggesting that negotiations were the best way to resolve outstanding claims. |
|2008 ||Prime Minister
Stephen Harper offers official apology to the former students of Indian Residential
Schools, on behalf of the Government of Canada, June 11, 2008.|
|2009 ||Prime Minister Harper claims, “We also have no history of colonialism,” at a press conference during the G20 Summit in Pittsburgh, USA.|
|2010||Bill C-3 restores status under the Indian Act to grandchildren of Aboriginal women who lost their status through marriage to non-Aboriginal men.|
|2011||While other churches issued formal apologies for their participation in the Residential School System between 1986 and 1994, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops continues to refuse to issue a formal apology.|
|2012 ||The interim report of the TRC reveals a lack of cooperation on the part of federal government and its failure to provide full access to documents requested by the commission.|
The final report for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is released at the closing ceremony in Ottawa. "I think as commissioners we have concluded that cultural genocide is probably the best description of what went on here [in Canada]."
"It is precisely because education was the primary tool of oppression of Aboriginal people, and mis-education of all Canadians that we have concluded that education holds the key to reconciliation."
—The Honourable Justice Murray Sinclair