Treaties and Land Claims
TopicTreaties and Land Claims
Essential QuestionHow has the Canadian government’s relationship with First Peoples regarding treaties changed or stayed the same?
Learning Standards Content
Students are expected to know the following:
- Government, First Peoples governance, political institutions, and ideologies
- title, treaties, and land claims
Students are expected to be able to do the following:
I can describe how Canadian treaties are complex agreements between Indigenous people and the Canadian Government.
I can critically analyze whether the terms in a treaty were beneficial to both parties.
I can apply my learning to work towards reconciliation with Canada's Indigenous population.
First People's Principles of LearningLearning ultimately supports the well-being of the self, the family, the community, the land, the spirits, and the ancestors.
- Show the Government of Canada video Resolving Specific Land Claims for Everyone’s Benefit (6:40).
- Discuss: Where do land claims come from? How are they resolved? Who benefits when land claims are settled?
- Have students read the Canadian Encyclopedia article Indigenous Land Claims in Canada.
- As a class, create a Venn Diagram to show the similarities and differences between a Specific Land Claim and a Comprehensive Land Claim (modern treaty).
- Find out what students already know about treaties by having them complete the “Treaty Awareness Quiz”. You could have them work individually, in pairs, or in small groups.
Part 1: Historic Treaties
- Explain that between 1871 and 1921, the Canadian government made 11 treaties with First Nations to bring Indigenous peoples and their lands under federal jurisdiction.
- Have students work in pairs or triads to research one of the Numbered Treaties.
- Provide students with a copy of the handout “5 W’s Historic Treaties” as well as access to the Canadian Encyclopedia article Numbered Treaties.
- Groups can share their findings with the class, specifically focusing on the “why” behind the treaty.
- Engage students in a discussion of whether the terms of the treaties were beneficial for both parties.
Part 2: Modern Treaties and Land Claims
- Point out that 100 years passed between British Columbia’s last historic treaty (Treaty 8) and its first modern treaty (Nisga’a Agreement).
- Have students work in small groups to investigate a modern treaty / land claim. They may want to select one from British Columbia:
- Provide students with a copy of the handout “5 W’s Modern Treaties and Land Claims” as well as access to the Canadian Encyclopedia article Comprehensive Land Claims: Modern Treaties. Students may need to access further sources to complete the 5W chart.
- Groups can share their findings with the class, specifically focussing on the “why” behind the treaty.
- Engage students in a discussion about the similarities and differences in the motivations for each treaty.
- Compare the government’s motivation for signing historic treaties with their motivation to sign modern treaties. How has the Canadian government’s relationship with First Peoples regarding treaties changed or stayed the same?
- Ask if students have heard of the Land Back movement.
- What do they know?
- What do they wonder?
- Show the video Canada, it’s time for Land Back (6:17). Ask:
- How is the goal of Land Back different from a specific or comprehensive land claim?
- How is the Land Back movement connected to the environmentalist movement?
B.C. Treaty Commission. 2021. “Why Treaties?” https://www.bctreaty.ca/why-treaties
Bird, C. (Wabi Benais Mistatim Equay). 2018. “The Numbered Treaties.” Canada’s History.
Canada. 2020. “Treaties and Agreements.” Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada.
Canada. 2013. “Summaries of Pre-1975 Treaties.” Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada.
Hall, A.J. 2011; 2017. "Treaties with Indigenous Peoples in Canada". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Historica Canada. https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/aboriginal-treaties
Indigenous Foundation. [n.d.] “Aboriginal Title.”
Irwin, R. "Aboriginal Title". 2018. The Canadian Encyclopedia. Historica Canada.