Canadian History/Aboriginals and the Canadian State
100 Centuries Ago-1497
· 100 centuries ago - Aboriginals come from Asia in boats and over land bridge as Ice Age ends. Hunt mammoths and buffalo.
·100-50 centuries ago - Slowly societies evolve, complete with alliances, trading, war, and art. Expansion across the continent leads to settlements throughout Canada.
· 4.000 years ago - Tunits followed caribou and muskox into the Arctic and settle.
· 1,000 years ago - Inuit come to Arctic, Tunit mysteriously disappear. Climate is considerably warmer than today. The Inuit were the last great migration of First Nations, all the other Native populations were settled by this point.
· 1,000 years ago - Leif Ericsson and the Norse find Canada.
· 1,000 years ago - Leif Ericsson attempts to settle Canada but a combination of fierce Natives, rough seas, a cooling climate drive him and his people away.
· 1497 - John Cabot lands in Canada. Lunn, Janet, and Christopher Moore.
The first treaties between the First Nations and the European Settlers were signed in 1871. These treaties were the Europeans' way of controlling the First Nations in a legal, non-violent manner. However, the terms on which these treaties were written were far from fair. The treaties asked the First Nations to sign away most of the land which they occupied in return for a grant of 600 square meters of land per family of 5 people.
Some of this land would be used for the Europeans' settlements' infrastructure. The Europeans also asked the First Nations to promise to keep alcohol off the reserves in order to help keep the peace. The First Nations were offered a small sum of money, rights to hunt and fish on their own land (which they already had), lessons in how to farm the land they were given, and schooling for the young First Nations so that they could learn to read and write English. The First Nations appeared to be selfless in their act to agree to the terms of the Europeans. However the First Nations didn’t really have a choice because their natural food sources were slowly disappearing. The First Nations needed land to get their food and an income so that if their yield that year wasn’t enough they could purchase extra food.
In 1948,The Canadian Government signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This document states a common standard of achievement for all peoples and nations where teaching and education promote respect for all rights and freedoms. The Canadian Government had to re-examine its treatment of the Aboriginal Peoples to make sure they followed the decrees of the declaration. The government then decided to introduce the Indian Act in 1951. It allowed aboriginals to perform key cultural ceremonies, such as pow-wows and potlatches. Aboriginals were granted the right to posess and drink alcohol, but only on their reserves. The Aboriginal Peoples were also granted the right to sue the government over land claims, though none of them did successfully. Nine years later, voting rights were extended to aboriginals.
In 1969, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau tried to cut off all negotiations with any Native people in terms of land claims and treaties. However, the natives countered with a document called the Red Paper which convinced the government to change its policies.
By 1970, aboriginal civil rights were regularly discussed in the media and aboriginals were granted the right to drink outside of their reserves. 15 years later, the Canadian Indian act restored Native status to many women and their children.
Lunn, Janet, and Christopher Moore. The Story of Canada. 1st ed. Toronto: Lester Publishing Limited and Key Porter Books Limited, 1992.