Treaties Are A Common Thread Running Through The History

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A treaty is a formal ratified agreement between two or more groups of people. “Treaties have been utilized as long as nations have existed.”6 This is an agreement that settles disputes and foster a relationship between the people involved. In Canada, “treaties are a common thread running through the history of the Indigenous-European relationship.”2 “Early treaties ensured a peaceful cross-cultural interface, which led to a brief period of mutual economic growth.”3 Unfortunately “the purpose of these treaties gradually shifted from establishing a peaceful relationship to securing government control of Aboriginal land.”4
Prior to European contact, “there was a long and rich history of treaty-making among the Aboriginal nations of the
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The issue of lands falls under section 35 of the constitution. First Nations were offered little or no choice since they were weakened by poverty as a result from whiskey traders, epidemics which almost wiped them off their country, and the shortage of food as buffalo herds almost became extinct in the 1800.
As a result of the issues faced by First Nations, in 1876 the government of Canada decided to implement a law known as the Indian act. The Indian Act categorized First Nations into status and non-status Indians. Status Indians are descendants of First Nations who signed the treaties, non-status Indians are descendants of First Nations who did not sign treaties.
The Indian Act empowered the Canadian government in controlling the lives of First Nations. First Nations no longer had the freedom to be who they were, and they could not live wherever they wanted. For instance, if a status Indian woman marries a non-status Indian man, she would stripped off the government rights toward Indians and she would not be recognized as an Indian by the crown.
In exchange of their land, First Nations received reserved land, and a payment from the government, hunting, fishing, as well as mining rights. They also received promises from the Canadian government that they would be given tools for farming, fishing and hunting. Despite that, these promises were not often kept, crown land which was considered land that was bought continued to be used by the
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