Interactive Timeline

    1793 ( National )

    The Royal Proclamation

    The Royal Proclamation was issued by the King of England. This forbade the encroachment of white settlers on Indian lands; recognized the existence of  aboriginal rights.

    1867 ( National )

    Canadian Confederation

    Canadian Confederation. The British North America Act (Canada’s Constitution as issued by Britain) assigned legislative jurisdiction over “Indian and lands reserved for Indians” to the federal government of Canada.

    1876 ( National )

    The first Indian Act was passed

    The first Indian Act was passed whereby its provisions generate an administrative separations of First Nation peoples. In 1922, it is amended to include the Inuit.

    1899 ( Territorial )

    Treaty Eight is signed.

    Treaty Eight is signed.

    1916 ( Territorial )

    Migratory Birds Convention Act Becomes Law

    Migratory Birds Convention Act Becomes Law: This Act is an “Inter-State” agreement between the United States and Canada. The agreement ignores aboriginal hunting rights as guaranteed by treaty #8; is never referred to in 1921 by Commissioner Conroy in his address to the Dene concerning treaty #11.

     

    The NWT Game Act is introduced.

    1921 ( Territorial )

    Treaty #11 is signed.

    Treaty #11 is signed.

    Monfwi and Council, Rae, 1928. Source: Tłı̨chǫ History Website https://Tłı̨chǫhistory.ca/en/stories/monfwi-signs-treaty-11

     

    Scan of Treaty Eleven. Source: Tłı̨chǫ History Website https://Tłı̨chǫhistory.ca/en/stories/monfwi-signs-treaty-11 

    1947 ( Territorial )

    Dene Bands in the NWT lodge complaints against the Game Law

    After decades of protest from all Dene communities in the NWT, all Dene Bands in the NWT lodge complaints against the Game Law in 1949  for encroaching Aboriginal rights. 

     

    In 1957, the Dene Chiefs meeting in Fort Smith, resolve that any Treaty Indian be allowed to hunt all year long for any game necessary for his livelihood.

    1957 ( International )

    ILO Convention 107

    Convention Concerning the Protection and Integration of Indigenous and Other Tribal and Semi-Tribal Populations in Independent Countries (ILO Convention 107): the first international legal agreement on the obligations of governments to Indigenous and tribal peoples is adopted.

    Scan of ILO Convention 107. Source: International Labour Organization website https://www.ilo.org/dyn/normlex/en/f?p=NORMLEXPUB:12100:0::NO::P12100_ILO_CODE:C107

    1960 ( National )

    Status Indians become Canadian citizens

    Status Indians become Canadian citizens (the franchise). Canadian Bill of Rights forbids any kind of discrimination.

    Federal Universal Indian Suffrage granted to Indians (voting).

    Scan of Canadian Bill of Rights. Source: Government of Canada website https://www.canada.ca/en/canadian-heritage/services/download-order-charter-bill.html 

     

    Prime Minister Diefenbaker displays the Bill of Rights. Source: Canadian Encyclopedia https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/canadian-bill-of-rights 

    1969 ( National )

    The government of Canada presents the “White Paper”

    The government of Canada presents the “White Paper”, which proposes to change the relationship between the government and Indian people, essentially, a design to transfer responsibility for Indian Affairs to provincial government by creating municipalities, etc. This would abolish the constitutional responsibilities of the government to the Indians, and is contrary to British Common Law.

    1969 ( Territorial )

    Indian Brotherhood of the Northwest Territories is formed

    Indian Brotherhood of the Northwest Territories is formed.

    Territorial Administration begins establishing Local Government.

    1970 ( Territorial )

    1970s and early 1980s

    A caveat (a declaration of prior interest in the land) to 450,000 square miles of traditional land is filed in the Supreme Court of the NWT by the Dene, illustrating their Aboriginal title to the lands over which the Mackenzie Valley pipeline will cross. The federal government agrees to negotiate Aboriginal Rights and provides funds for research.

    Justice Morrow of the NWT Supreme Court finds that the Dene have Aboriginal rights and may register a caveat. It was appealed by the Federal Government to the Supreme Court of Alberta. It reversed the decision.

     

    In 1976, the Supreme Court of rejected the Dene Nation’s appeal to restore the original judgement, but restricted filing of the Caveat until after all appeals to the case were decided. 

    In 1977, The Supreme Court of Canada denies the Dene the right to file a “caveat” over Dene land but does not challenge the existence of their Aboriginal Rights as defined by Mr. Justice Morrow in 1973.

     

    Image from Dene Mapping Project showing combined trails over Denendeh from 26 Dene Communities, by Camilia Zoe-Chocolate, 2016. Source: Dene Nation https://biglobalization.org/sites/default/files/uploads/files/dene_mapping.pdf

    1970 ( Territorial )

    Committee for Original People's Entitlement is formed

    In response to increasing oil and gas exploration and other pressures, a group of Inuvialuit elders and youth came together to form the Committee for Original People's Entitlement (COPE) to represent the interests of the Indigenous people of the western Arctic. They would go on to represent the Inuvialuit in their land claim negotiations.

    COPE logo. Source: Inuvialuit Regional Corporation. https://irc.inuvialuit.com/index.php/about-irc/inuvialuit-final-agreement/committee-original-peoples-entitlement-cope

    COPE negotiations in 1982. Source: Inuvialuit Regional Corporation https://irc.inuvialuit.com/sites/default/files/COPE-Original%20Voice%20for%20Inuvialuit%20Rights.pdf

    1972 ( Territorial )

    The Metis and Non-Status Native Association of the NWT is incorporated

    The Metis and Non-Status Native Association of the NWT is incorporated. (The name is later changed to Metis Association of the NWT and then to Metis Nation, NWT).

    1973 ( National )

    The Calder Case

    The Calder case establishes that Aboriginal title to lands exists where treaties were not negotiated. 

    1975 ( Territorial )

    Mr. Justice Thomas Berger opens the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry.

    Mr. Justice Thomas Berger opens the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry to examine the terms and conditions concerning construction of a pipeline in the Mackenzie Valley.

     

    More than 300 delegates from all Denendeh communities approved the Dene Declaration and Manifesto(delegates were from Indian Brotherhood and Metis Association of the NWT). Called for recognition of a separate nation of Dene within the Mackenzie Valley and establishment of a Dene-controlled government for all Dene. 

    https://publicautonomy.org/2018/08/23/the-dene-declaration/

     

    1977 ( International )

    United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

    Francois Paulette was one of the delegates that travelled to Geneva, Switzerland to begin talks that led to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

    1977 ( Territorial )

    The Berger Report on the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry is published

    The Berger Report on the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry is published. It recommends postponing the pipeline for 10 years.

    Cover of the Berger Inquiry Report. Source: Sahtú Renewable Resources Board https://srrb.nt.ca/index.php?option=com_k2&view=itemlist&task=tag&tag=Mackenzie%20Valley%20Development&Itemid=1934

    1978 ( Territorial )

    The name “National Indian Brotherhood of the NWT” is formally changed to “Dene Nation”.

    The name “National Indian Brotherhood of the NWT” is formally changed to “Dene Nation”.

    1979 ( National )

    Aboriginal Rights in the Canadian legal system

    Mr. Justice Patrick Mahoney rules that the Baker Lake area is subject to the Aboriginal Rights of the Inuit living there, thereby establishing Aboriginal Rights in the Canadian legal system for the first time.

    Image:  A late 1970s protestor for Indigenous rights with a placard that reads: "Political Self-determination is an Aboriginal Right. Inuit and Dene, take notes from the Welsh, Scots, Basques, and Bretons. Survive!! Inuit and Dene, Be Masters in your own Homelands."  Photo retrieved from https://edgenorth.ca/article/the-baker-lake-incident-a-historic-confrontation.

     

    1979 ( Territorial )

    Unified Dene Council

    Fort Good Hope replaces its Band and Settlement Councils with a unified Dene Council. Aklavik takes similar action in 1980, and more communities follow.

    1981 ( International )

    José Martínez Cobo

    The groundbreaking study of United Nations Special Rapporteur José Martínez Cobo provides crucial information on the state of the world’s Indigenous peoples. 

    Scan of United Nations Special Rapporteur José Martínez Cobo report to the United Nations Economic and Social Council. Source: United Nations https://www.un.org/development/desa/indigenouspeoples/publications/2014/09/martinez-cobo-study/ 

    1981 ( National )

    Lovelace case

    The United Nations Human Rights Committee find Canada and the Indian Act in violation of International law (Lovelace case).

    1982 ( International )

    The UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations is formed

    The UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations is formed. Its work is to develop international standards on indigenous peoples’ rights. Thus begins the development of UNDRIP in 1985.

    United Nations logo. Source: United Nations www.un.org 

    1982 ( National )

    Aboriginal rights provisions in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms

    Aboriginal rights provisions in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms were proclaimed, and were developed without the involvement of the First Nations.

    1983 ( Territorial )

    The Dene play a major role at the First Ministers Conference

    The Dene play a major role at the First Ministers Conference in Ottawa, established to define Aboriginal Rights in Canada.

    Maclean’s Magazine coverage of the 1983 First Ministers Conference in Ottawa. Source: Maclean’s magazine archives https://archive.macleans.ca/article/1983/3/28/first-nations-first-ministers

    1984 ( Territorial )

    Inuvialuit Settlement Region and the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation

    The Inuvialuit of the Mackenzie Delta reach a final agreement with the government of Canada, forming the Inuvialuit Settlement Region and the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation.

    Signing of the Inuvialuit Final Agreement. Source: Inuvialuit Regional Corporation: https://irc.inuvialuit.com/about-irc/inuvialuit-final-agreement

    1989 ( International )

    Convention Concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries

    ILO Convention 107, which was criticized as assimilationist, is updated by the Convention Concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries (ILO Convention 169).

     

    Cover of ILO Convention 169. Source: International Labour Organization https://www.ilo.org/manila/publications/WCMS_208389/lang--en/index.htm 

    1990 ( Territorial )

    Dene languages become official languages of the NWT.

    Dene languages become official languages of the NWT.

    The Dene/Metis leadership and federal representatives initial the umbrella comprehensive land claims agreement on April 9, 1990.

    On November 7, the Dene are informed that the federal government will no longer negotiate with them as a nation of people. Regionally-based talks commence.

    Official languages of the Northwest Territories. Source: Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre https://www.pwnhc.ca/official-languages-of-the-northwest-territories/

    1990 ( National )

    Aboriginal Rights are protected from unjustifiable federal laws and regulations

    The Supreme Court of Canada says unextinguished Aboriginal Rights are protected from unjustifiable federal laws and regulations.

    The Supreme Court of Canada rules that government cannot wipe out or reduce Aboriginal Rights without the consent of the Native people involved.

    Media coverage from the Vancouver Sun on R v. Sparrow, the Supreme Court case that led to the Supreme Court ruling on infringement of Aboriginal Rights. Source: University of Alberta Faculty of Law, https://ualbertalaw.typepad.com/faculty/2020/11/call-to-action-42-the-legal-definition-of-reconciliation.html

    1992 ( Territorial )

    Gwich'in Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement

    Final ratification of the Gwich'in Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement with the Government of Canada. 

    Gwich’in Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement. Source: Government of Canada website https://www.rcaanc-cirnac.gc.ca/DAM/DAM-INTER-HQ-LDC/STAGING/texte-text/gwichin_Land_Claim_Agreement_PDF_1427372111130_eng.pdf

    1993 ( International )

    International Year of the World’s Indigenous People

    1993 Is declared by the United Nations as the “International Year of the World’s Indigenous People”. Indigenous peoples demand the formation of a United Nations permanent forum that addresses indigenous peoples’ concerns. The Working Group on Indigenous Populations completed a Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

    Draft United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Source: Cambridge University https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/international-legal-materials/article/abs/united-nations-commission-on-human-rights-subcommission-on-prevention-of-discrimination-and-protection-of-minorities-draft-united-nations-declaration-on-the-rights-of-indigenous-peoples/A52FC08826022E21E265EF97793CAFBD

    1993 ( Territorial )

    Deh Cho Declaration

    On August 13th, during the first Annual Deh Cho Assembly in Kakisa Lake, the Deh Cho Declaration was adopted.

    Dehcho Declaration. Source: Dehcho First Nations https://dehcho.org/docs/DFN_Declaration_1993_08_19.pdf 

    1994 ( International )

    First International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People

    The United Nations launches the First International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People (1995–2004).

    1994 ( Territorial )

    Sahtú Dene and Métis Land Claim Settlement Act

    Sahtú Dene and Métis Land Claim Settlement Act came into effect on June 23, 1994

    1995 ( National )

    Inherent Right of Self-Government Policy

    Canada approves the Inherent Right of Self-Government Policy.

    1996 ( National )

    Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples

    Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples report released.  

    The Delgamuukw Supreme Court judgement provides explicit recognition of the reality of Aboriginal title existing within the Canadian legal system.

    Delgamuukw, one of the claimants in the Delgamuukw v. the Queen case. Source: APTN News. https://www.aptnnews.ca/national-news/the-delgamuukw-decision-when-the-invisible-people-won-recognition/ 

    1999 ( Territorial )

    The Nunavut territory is created

    The Nunavut territory, Inuit homeland, is created.

    2001 ( Territorial )

    Salt River First Nation Treaty Settlement Agreement

    Salt River First Nation Treaty Settlement Agreement is signed. 

    2002 ( International )

    United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issue

    The inaugural session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) takes place in May 2002. For the first time Indigenous peoples, as Indigenous-nominated or government-nominated experts, speak for themselves as full-fledged members of a United Nations body.

    2003 ( Territorial )

    Tłı̨chǫ Land and Self Government Agreement

    Tłı̨chǫ Land and Self Government Agreement is signed.

    2004 ( International )

    The Second International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People

    The Second International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People (2005–2015) is announced by the United Nations. 

    2007 ( International )

    UNDRIP is adopted by the United Nations General Assembly

    UNDRIP is adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. The adoption of the Declaration shows that the international community has committed itself to the protection of indigenous peoples’ rights as individuals and as a group. Canada and a few other countries do not sign.

    2015 ( Territorial )

    Délįnę Final Self Government Agreement

    Délįnę Final Self Government Agreement is signed.

    2016 ( National )

    Government of Canada endorsed UNDRIP

    Government of Canada endorsed UNDRIP without qualification. 

    2019 ( Territorial )

    UNDRIP and The Northwest Territories.

    Government of the Northwest Territories includes implementation of UNDRIP in their mandate. 

    2020 ( National )

    UNDRIP and Canada.

    In December, the Government of Canada introduced legislation to implement UNDRIP.

  • 1793
  • 1876
  • 1899
  • 1916
  • 1921
  • 1947
  • 1957
  • 1960
  • 1969
  • 1970
  • 1972
  • 1973
  • 1975
  • 1977
  • 1978
  • 1979
  • 1981
  • 1982
  • 1983
  • 1984
  • 1989
  • 1990
  • 1992
  • 1993
  • 1994
  • 1995
  • 1996
  • 1999
  • 2001
  • 2002
  • 2003
  • 2004
  • 2007
  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2019
  • 2020