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Mi'kmaq & Indigenous Studies: Land

This guide was created for students, faculty, administrative staff, and our community members.

Canada’s Residential Schools: Reconciliation

Quotes from The Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Volume 6  [emphasis added]

The Royal Proclamation of 1763 and the Treaty of Niagara of 1764 (pp. 34-38)

The history of Treaty making in Canada is contentious. Aboriginal peoples and the Crown have interpreted the spirit and intent of the Treaties quite differently. Generally, government officials have viewed the Treaties as legal mechanisms by which Aboriginal peoples ceded and surrendered their lands to the Crown. In con- trast, First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples understand Treaties as a sacred obligation that commits both parties to maintaining respectful relationships and sharing lands and resources equitably.

Indigenous peoples have kept the history and ongoing relevance of the Treaties alive in their own oral histories and legal traditions. Without their perspectives on the history of Treaty making, Canadians know only one side of this country’s history [...] (p. 34).

The Royal Proclamation was ratified by over 2,000 Indigenous leaders who had gathered at Niagara in the summer of 1764 to make a Treaty with the Crown (p. 35).

Honouring Indigenous spirituality (pp. 102-112)

To take the territorial lands away from a people whose very spirit is so intrinsically connected to Mother Earth was to actually dispossess them of their very soul and being; it was to destroy whole Indigenous nations. (Comment by Survivor and Anishinaabe Elder Fred Kelly, p. 103)


Legal & Government Documents

In the Royal Proclamation of 1763, the British declared that all lands west of the established colonies belonged to Aboriginal peoples and that the Crown could legally acquire these lands only by negotiating Treaties (p. 35).

Background Information