A timeline of some key dates for Canada’s dealings with First Nations

OTTAWA – Here is a look at some of the key dates in the evolution of the relationship between Canada and the First Nations.

1763: A Royal Proclamation notes aboriginal claims to lands and says treaties with natives will be handled by the Crown.

1867: The British North America Act gives the federal government responsibility for aboriginals and their lands.

1871-75: The first five numbered treaties deal with native lands in northwestern Ontario and what is now southern Manitoba, southern Saskatchewan and southern Alberta.

1876: The Indian Act is passed, essentially extinguishing any remaining self-government for natives and making them wards of the federal government.

1870s: The first residential schools open. Their painful legacy would stretch to today.

1885: The Northwest Rebellion was a brief and unsuccessful uprising by the Metis people of Saskatchewan under Louis Riel. Some Cree groups also fought, but for a variety of reasons, some unrelated to the Metis grievances

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1951: Major changes to the Indian Act remove a number of discriminatory rules, including a ban on native consumption of alcohol, although it is only allowed on reserves.

1960: Natives are given the right to vote in federal elections.

1973: In the Calder case, the Supreme Court held that aboriginal rights to land did exist, citing the 1763 Royal Proclamation.

1975: Quebec signs the James Bay agreement with Cree and Inuit communities, opening the way for new hydro projects.

1984: The Inuvialuit Claims Settlement Act gave the Inuit of the western Arctic control over resources.

1985: Changes to the Indian Act extend formal Indian status to the Metis, all enfranchised aboriginals living off reserve land and aboriginal women who had previously lost their status by marrying a non-aboriginal man

1990: The Oka Crisis focuses attention of native land claims.

1999: Nunavut is created in the western Arctic, with lands set aside where Inuit can live, hunt and control sub-surface resources.

2000: The federal government approves the Nisaga’a Treaty, giving the tribe about $196 million over 15 years plus communal self-government and control of natural resources in parts of northwestern British Columbia.

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2005: The Kelowna Accord called for spending $5 billion over five years to improve native education, health care and living conditions. Paul Martin’s minority Liberal government fell before the accord could be implemented.

2008: Prime Minister Stephen Harper offers a formal apology on behalf of Canada over residential schools.

2010: Canada signs the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

2011: A winter housing crisis in the northern Ontario native community of Attawapiskat rivets national attention on native living conditions.

2012: Harper holds a summit meeting with First Nations chiefs.

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