This is the "Aboriginal Treaties" page of the "Aboriginal Identity, Treaty & Status Rights" guide.
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This section contains resources relating to who classifies or identifies as Aboriginal, and what their legal rights are.
Last Updated: Jun 27, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Aboriginal Treaties Print Page

Numbered Treaty Texts and Guides

The following links provide overviews, maps, and complete texts of the numbered treaties signed between European settlers and Aboriginals in Canada. Each treaty represents different areas of Canada.

  • Maps of Treaty-Making in Canada
    The maps below represent the pre-1975 Treaties of Canada between the European and First Nations peoples. They illustrate the Pre-1975 Treaties of Canada, that were negotiated between 1725 and 1923. These treaties cover most of Ontario, the Prairie Provinces, parts of Vancouver Island, Northwest Territories and Atlantic Canada. The maps do not contain contemporary land claim agreements, but they serve as a foundational grounding for how these treaties came about.
  • Treaty One and Two (1871)
    "Treaty No. 1 & Treaty No. 2. The first post-Confederation treaty, Treaty One, is concluded in August 1871 and covers Manitoba as it existed then. Treaty Two is concluded a few weeks later and covers areas needed for expansion and settlement in the west and north of the Province. British Columbia enters Confederation on the understanding that construction of the east-west railway will begin in two years and will be completed in ten."
  • Treaty Three (1873)
    "Treaty No. 3. After three years of negotiations, the Dominion of Canada and the Saulteaux tribe of Ojibway Indians entered into treaty at the North-West Angle of the Lake of the Woods. With the Saulteaux surrendering title to an area of 14,245,000 hectares, Canada acquired land for agriculture, settlement and mineral discovery. More importantly, Canada secured communications with the North-West Territories, including the route of the future Canadian Pacific Railway.

    In 1873, Prince Edward Island enters Confederation, bringing the number of provinces in the Dominion to seven."
  • Treaty Four (1874)
    "Treaty No. 4. Initiated by Indians and Métis concerned about the declining numbers of animals which provided them with a living. Treaty 4 covers present-day southern Saskatchewan. Provisional boundary set in northern Ontario."
  • Treaty Five (1875)
    "Treaty No. 5. This treaty originated in two historical processes. The southern part, negotiated in 1875, was one of the southern Prairie treaties, and was in large part a result of the insistence of the Native people of that region that their Aboriginal rights be recognized by the Canadian government, which had recently acquired title to their lands. The northern part of Treaty 5 was negotiated in 1908."
  • Treaty Six (1876)
    "Treaty No. 6 - The negotiation of this treaty took place during a difficult period for the Plains Cree, who were suffering from the rapid decline of the buffalo. The documents indicate that their concerns included medical care and relief in case of need."
  • Treaty Seven (1877)
    "Treaty No. 7. The last of the numbered treaties negotiated and signed during the 1870s. The treaty covers the southern part of present-day Alberta."
  • Treaty Eight (1899)
    "Treaty No. 8. The first of the northern treaties covered an area of 324,900 sq miles and represents the most geographically extensive treaty activity undertaken. It comprises what is now the northern half of Alberta, the northeast quarter of British Columbia, the northwest corner of Saskatchewan, and the area south of Hay River and Great Slave Lake in the Northwest Territories."
  • Treaty Nine (1905-1906)
    "Treaty No. 9. In response to continuous petitions from the Cree and Ojibwa people of northern Ontario, and in keeping with its policy of paving the way for settlement and development, the federal government in 1905-1906 negotiated Treaty 9, also known as the James Bay Treaty. For the first and only time, a provincial government took an active role in negotiations. Together with the area acquired by adhesions in 1929-1930, Treaty 9 covers almost two-thirds of the are that became northern Ontario.

    In 1905, the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan are created."
  • Treaty Ten (1906)
    "Treaty No. 10 covers 220,000 square kilometres of northern Saskatchewan and Alberta. Unlike the land in southern Saskatchewan, the Treaty 10 lands were deemed unsuitable for agriculture and so the federal government did not respond to demands from the region's Native people for a treaty until the early 20th century, when the mixed-blood people of northern Saskatchewan began to demand compensation for loss of Aboriginal rights and the Provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta had been created."
  • Treaty Eleven (1921)
    "Treaty No. 11 was the last of the numbered treaties covers most of the Mackenzie District. The land in the area was deemed unsuitable for agriculture, so the federal government was reluctant to conclude treaties. Immediately following the discovery of oil at Fort Norman in 1920, however, the government moved to begin treaty negotiations."

Treaty Rights Issues

  • Treaty 9 Diaries
    Based on the diaries of Daniel MacMartin, a government comissioner who verbally presented the treaty to Aboriginal elders unable to read the treaty. Diary entries show the government deliberately misleading Aboriginals on the terms of the treaty.

    This website discusses these diary entries and form the basis for a legal challenge for how Treaty 9 rights are honoured.

Primer on Aboriginal Treaties

The following resources are introductory in nature and provide the visitor with an overview of what the different treaties in Canada between Aboriginals and settlers encompass.

Summaries of Pre-1975 Treaties

"These treaties, negotiated and concluded between the Crown and many of Canada's First Nations, are foundational documents in the history of Canada. They established peaceful relations during times of colonial war, helped stimulate prosperous economic and commercial trade relations, and allowed for the organised expansion of Canada. Without these treaties, Canada would likely not be as we know it today."

The complete treaty texts for Treaties of Peace and Neutrality, Peace and Friendship Treaties, Upper Canada Land Surrenders, Douglas Treaties, Robinson Treaties, The Numbered Treaties, and Williams Treaties can be found here.

Other Legislation Concerning Aboriginal Status & Treaty Rights

The following links compile the various legislation and agreements that Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) preside over for meeting the Government of Canada's obligations and commitments to First Nations, Inuit, and Metis peoples.

For a background primer on the Indian Act and how it has impacted Aboriginal people and their relationship with the Canadian government, please read this article from CBC News.

  • List of Acts
    A listing of written laws, or statutes, that are enacted by Parliament that concern the status of Canada's Aboriginal peoples with full text where available. The list of Acts (which includes the Indian Act) are divided by those where the AANDC Minister has sole responsibility and those where the Minister shares responsibility.
  • List of Regulations
    List of regulations currently in force by AANDC.
  • Land Claims (Comprehensive)
    Comprehensive land claims deal with the unfinished business of treaty-making in Canada. These claims generally arise in areas of Canada where Aboriginal land rights have not been dealt with by treaty or through other legal means. In these areas, forward-looking agreements (also called "modern treaties") are negotiated between the Aboriginal group, Canada and the province or territory.

    The status and information on the negotiation of these claims are collected here.
  • Land Claims (Specific)
    Specific claims deal with the past grievances of First Nations. These grievances relate to Canada's obligations under historic treaties or the way it managed First Nation funds or assets. The Government of Canada prefers to resolve these claims by negotiating settlements with First Nations. Negotiations lead to “win-win” solutions that bring closure, benefits and certainty for all Canadians.

Treaty Rights Organizations

The following resources provide links are treaty organizations in Canada dedicated to providing education about the treaties and seeing to it that the terms of the original treaties are honoured and respected.


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