Starting in 1701, in what was to eventually become Canada, the British Crown entered into treaties to encourage peaceful relations between First Nations and non-Aboriginal people. Some treaties, like the Peace and Friendship treaties in the Maritimes, were to end hostilities and encourage cooperation between the British and First Nations.
Others, like the Upper Canada Treaties (1764 to 1862), Vancouver Island (Douglas) Treaties (1850 to 1854) and Numbered Treaties in Ontario, across the Prairies, as well as parts of the Northwest Territories (1871 to 1921), involved First Nations ceding or surrendering their rights to the land in exchange for a variety of benefits. These benefits included such things as reserve lands, farming equipment and animals, annual payments, ammunition, clothing and certain rights to hunt and fish.
Following the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Marshall, Canada is engaging in negotiations with Mi’kmaq, Maliseet and Passamaquoddy on the basis that they have treaty rights to hunt, fish and gather towards earning a moderate livelihood. These treaty rights must be implemented. Along with these treaty rights, First Nations maintain that they continue to hold Aboriginal rights and title throughout their traditional territory.