Treaties in Canada

Canada understands Treaties between the Crown and First Nation people to be solemn agreements that set out promises, obligations and benefits for both parties. The First Nations understand the Treaties to be a series of negotiations through which they safeguarded their languages, traditions and cultures, while also agreeing to share the land with Canadians.

North America, prior to newcomers, was populated by many nations of people with different languages, cultures, religions, ways of life and traditional territories. When First Nations met with each other they negotiated alliances that were mutually beneficial. These alliances established peaceful relationships among them which included trade, passage, peace and friendship, and other obligations and responsibilities.

Starting in 1701, the British Crown entered into Treaties to encourage peaceful relations between First Nations and non-First Nation people. Over the next several centuries, Treaties were negotiated and entered into to define, among other things, the respective rights of First Nation people and governments to use and enjoy lands that First Nations people traditionally occupied.