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Historica Canada Education Portal

Treaties in Canada

  • Indigenous History
  • Intermediate – Middle School

This Learning Tool appears in 2 Collections

Treaties in Canada

Beginning in the early 1600s, the British Crown (later the Government of Canada) entered into  a series of treaties with Indigenous nations in Canada. The treaties were intended as formal  agreements to encourage peaceful relations and to specify promises, obligations and benefits  for both parties. Indigenous peoples wanted to protect their traditional lands, resources, and  ways of life, while ensuring peace and friendship, and eventually receiving support as they  shifted to a new reality in the mid-19th century. Today, everyone agrees that First Nations  peoples agreed to share some of their land and resources in return for material support. But  the terms of this exchange would ultimately be understood differently by the parties involved.  This difference in interpretation is rooted in differing worldviews, with distinct concepts of land  ownership.

Message to Teachers
Activities and discussions related to Indigenous peoples’ history in Canada may evoke an emotional response from some students. The subject of treaties can bring out strong opinions and feelings, as it includes two worldviews. It is critical to acknowledge that Indigenous worldviews and understandings of relationships have continually been marginalized. This does not make them less valid, and students need to understand why different peoples in Canada might have different outlooks and interpretations of treaties.

This Education Guide references the Naskumituwin (Treaty) Heritage Minute. Click here to watch the Minute:


Supporting documents for this Learning Tool

File type File size Action
Treaties_English.pdf PDF 4.74 MB Download
Treaties_Printable_Pages.pdf PDF 6.47 MB Download
EN_basic_5Ws_chart.pdf PDF 1.61 MB Download
EN_Treaties_5Ws_chart.pdf PDF 1.82 MB Download