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First Nations Timeline

Canada and the Yukon

Davida Wood

on 3 April 2014

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Transcript of First Nations Timeline

Canada and the Yukon
The Royal Proclamation of October 1763 is signed.
The document recognizes:
Aboriginal Title
Aboriginal Land Ownership and Authority
by the Crown.
It states that ONLY the Crown could acquire
lands from First Nations and ONLY by Treaty.
The height of the trade between coastal Tlingit middlemen
and interior Yukon people supplying furs to markets in Asia,
Europe and North America
First Nations people could not acquire
Crown Land. Colonial officials like Joseph Trutch
said First Nations title had never been acknowledged,
and no compensation was offered.
Sir John Franklin begins searching
for the Northwest Passage and maps
the Arctic coastline from the mouth
if the Mackenzie River to the Alaskan
North Slope
Robert Campbell establishes Fort Selkirk,
for the Hudson's Bay Company at the
mouth of the Pelly River
Coastal Tlingit traders run the Hudson's Bay Company traders out, abandoning Fort Selkirk
Fraser River Gold Rush
A colony is established on the
mainland of British Columbia.
The influx of new immigrants changed the nature of the territory. Europeans and Americans believed that the land was empty and free for the taking.
The dominion of Canada came into being July 1. Parliament outlines its conditions for accepting the Hudson's Bay Company land to the west of the old Upper and Lower Canadas.
Russia sells Alaska to the United States.
One of the worst Small Pox
Epidemics sweeps British Columbia,
killing 1/3 of the First Nations population in the Province. Waves of epidemics decimated First Nations populations.
The Indian Act was established.
It influences all aspects of a First Nations
person's life from birth to death. Indian
Bands were created and Indian Agents
became the intermediaries between
First Nations people and the rest of the
A party of prospectors crosses
the Chilkoot Pass for the first time
and prospects the 60 Mile and 40 Mile
rivers during the next year
American Lieutenant Frederick Schwatka
creates the first modern survey of the
Yukon River.
Anti-Potlatch laws were enacted
under the Indian Act.
Responsibility for the education
of children was given in large part
to church-run Residential Schools.
There was resistance to the
aggressive policies of governments.
The people retained a profound
conviction that their hereditary title
still exsists.
More than 200 prospectors arrive in Yukon's interior and establish a trading post at the mouth of teh Stewart River. A strike of coarse gold on the 40 Mile river draws attention away from other areas.
A trading post is erected at the 40 mile River
mouth and becomes the first gold rush town.
Duncan Campbell Scott becomes
Deputy Superintendent General
of the Department of Indian Affairs.
His stated objective was ASSIMILATION.
He ruled the department until 1932.
Inspector Constantine of the
North-West Mounted Police and
20 men are sent to uphold
Canadian sovereignty and maintain
law and order in Yukon. The police
act as Dominion land agents, custom
collectors, magistrates and represent
all government departments.
Skookum Jim, George Carmack and Dawson Charlie strike gold on Bonanza Creek in the Klondike River drainage. Word spreads and creates the world-famous Klondike Gold Rush.
First Residential School in Yukon opens
Carcross Indian residential
School (40 Mile) opened
Baptist Indian Residential
School (Whitehorse) Opened
Carcross Indian Residential
School (Moved from 40 Mile
to Chooutla/Carcross) Opened
St. Paul's Indian Residential
School (Dawson) opened.
Lower Post Indian Residential
School (Lower Post) opened
Yukon Hall {Residence for local day school students}
St Paul's Indian Residential School (Dawson) CLOSED
Yukon Hall (whitehorse)
Baptist Indian Residential School (Whitehorse)
Cacross Indian Residential
School (Carcross) CLOSED
Lower Post Indian Residential School
(Lower Post)
The LAST Canadian Indian
Residential School
White Calf Collegiate (Saskatchewan)
Official Start of the
Klondike Gold Rush

Ottawa passes the Yukon
Territory Act to constitute
the Yukon as separate and
distinct from Northwest Territories.
Dawson City becomes the Capital,
and is the largest Canadian City
West of Winnepeg.
At a protest blockade near Fort St. John, the First Nations demanded a treaty and halted the flow of miners. As a result, Treaty 8 was negotiated.
White Pass & Yukon Route railway establishes the town of Closeleigh (later called Whitehorse) and connects to Skagway, Alaska. Their steam-powered sternwheelers travel the Yukon River and its major tributaries carrying people, mail and supplies.

In 1900, at the height of the Klondike Gold Rush, Chief Jim Boss (Kishxóot) of the Ta'an Kwäch'än recognized that his people needed protection for their land and hunting grounds in the wake of a growing non-aboriginal population. Chief Boss petitioned the Commissioner of the Yukon, William Ogilvie, for a 1,600 acre reserve at Tàa'an Män, which he had already surveyed. Instead, a reserve of only 320 acres was granted.
A winter road is built to link Dawson City and Whitehorse.

Not satisfied with the outcome, in 1902 Chief Boss, with the help of a lawyer, wrote to the Superintendent General of the Department of Indian Affairs in Ottawa, demanding that over-hunting by newcomers be controlled and that his people be compensated for lost land and the impacts on wildlife. This letter contained his famous quote "Tell the King very hard we want something for our Indians, because they take our land and our game". The only response Chief Boss received was that the police would protect his people and their land.
The first silver ore is shipped from the Mayo region. Gold production falls in the Dawson City region.
First Nations make application to King Edward VII to have the Privy Council determine aboriginal title. The request was denied.
Prime Minister Wilfred Laurier visits British Columbia. He supports recognition of aboriginal rights. There is deep division between the federal and provincial government as to the recognition of aboriginal title.
Silver King mine in the Mayo district ships out over 1,000 tons of ore.
Keno Hill Mine is discovered and in production by the end of 1920.
Ottawa enacts Bill 13 which overrode the need for Native consent. Canada passes the B.C. Indian Lands Settlement Act, the McKenna McBride Commission's recommendations go ahead reducing reserve land to less than 36% of the total area of B.C. Next came Bill 14, empowered the enfranchisement or removal of any Natives from 'status', those who went to fight in the wars, worked and lived off reserve were among those who lost their 'Indian status' under Bill 14.
Chief Dan Cranmer and his guests are arrested for attending his potlatch in Alert Bay. Forty-five people are convicted and 17 are sent to prison. Their ceremonial regalia was also illegally seized.
Indian Act amended to make it illegal for First Nations to raise money or retain a lawyer to advance land claims, thereby blocking effective political court action.
The Native Brotherhood of British Columbia is formed at a December meeting at Port Simpson, with delegates from Masset, Hartley Bay, Kitkatla, Port Essington and Metlakatla.
American military and civilian personnel arrive to construct the Alaska Highway.
• The building of the Alaska Highway in 1942-43 brought more than 30,000 U.S. Army personnel into the Yukon. A series of airstrips and a highway were built to transport war supplies to Alaska.
• The 1,520 mile (2,446 km) Alaska Highway was constructed in eight months and twelve days in 1942.
• The sudden changes were shocking and difficult to adjust to because of the hastiness of their arrival. The soldiers brought diseases which soon evolved into epidemics; influenza, whooping cough, dysentery, and Tuberculosis. These diseases wiped out an estimated 50 percent of the population from the time of initial contact to the time of the highway
• The people left their trap lines because shortly after the war the price of furs dropped drastically and this vital economic base line was gone
• At this time, the Government allowed First Nation people to enter alcohol establishments and so began a tempestuous battle with alcoholism as the people had no tolerance to its devastating effects
First Nations people in British Columbia are permitted to vote in provincial elections.
**Note** Women got the right to vote in Provincial elections starting in 1916 (33 years)
Parliament repeals Indian Act provisions of anti-potlatch and land claims activity.
Yukon’s capital city moves south from Dawson City to Whitehorse.
First Nations people in Canada are permitted to vote in federal elections.
**Note** Women got the right to vote in Federal Elections in 1918 (42 years)
- Nisga'as go to court with the Calder case. The Supreme Court rules that the Nisga'a did hold title to their traditional lands before BC was created. The Court splits evenly on whether Nisga'a still have title.
- The Federal government, under Prime Minister Trudeau and Minister of Indian Affairs Jean Cretien, issues its White Paper, advocating policies which promote the assimilation of First Nations people. There is nation-wide political activity to counter the White Paper.
- Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs formed.
Indian Control of Indian Education policy document written by National Indian Brotherhood advocating parental responsibility and local control over First Nations education. This policy is accepted by federal government a year later.
The federal government adopts a comprehensive land claims policy. B.C. refuses to participate.

Elijah Smith and a delegation of Yukon First Nations Chiefs presented Together Today For Our Children Tomorrow to Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau in 1973 and initiated modern Yukon land claims negotiations
Increased First Nations action and the evolution of political structures. The province still will not recognize aboriginal title nor negotiate treaties. Tribal Councils continue to emerge representatives of historic tribal groups.
Last residential school in the Yukon closes.

• The Catholic Church in Lower Post, B.C and the Chootla Anglican School in Carcross saw three generations of Yukon First Nations come through their doors. It was the law that Status Indians send their children to the Mission Schools and this was enforced by the R.C.M.P. Children from as far away as Old Crow were sent to Carcross where they remained for a number of years
Canada's Constitutional Act, Section 35, recognizes and affirms existing Aboriginal and treaty rights.
Bill C-31 was passed, an Amendment to the Indian
Act, which focused on three areas:
removal of discrimination;
restoring status and membership rights; and
increasing control of Indian bands over their own affairs.
The Premier's Council on Native Affairs is created to meet with First Nations and prepare recommendations to the government on a range of issues. The Ministry of Aboriginal Affair is formed, with Jack Weisgerber as Minister.
- Oka Crisis receives national attention when Mohawk warriors in armed stand-off with the Quebec police and Canadian army over the land at Oka. First Nations across the country rally to support the Mohawks and to emphasize their demands for recognition of inherent aboriginal title and rights.
- Sparrow Supreme Court decision concludes that the Musqueam people's aboriginal right to fish for food and ceremonial purposed has not been extinguished.
- British Columbia agreed to join the First Nations and Canada in treaty negotiations.
- First Nations, B.C. and Canada agree to establish a task force to develop a process for land claim negotiations in B.C.
Chief Justice McEachern dismisses the Gitxsan-Wet'suwet'en Chiefs' claim in the case of Delgamuukw v. Her Majesty the Queen.
- Nisga'a Tribal Council, B.C. and Canada sign a tripartite framework agreement which sets out the scope, process and topics for negotiations. This agreement is outside the treaty process which is subsequently put in place.
*Note: this is the first time the courts have acknowledged Aboriginal Title as well Oral History
First Nations Summit, Canada and B. C. establish Treaty Commission.
A final version of the Umbrella Final Agreement was signed by the governments of Canada and Yukon, and Yukon First Nations as represented by the Council for Yukon Indians (now named Council of Yukon First Nations).
The B.C. Treaty Commission, B.C. and Canada hold initial meetings with the 42 First Nations who have submitted Statements of Intent to negotiate.
Champagne and Aishihik First Nations signed their Self-Government Agreement.

Vuntut Gwichin First Nation signed their Self-Government Agreement.

First Nation of Na'cho Nyak Dun signed their Self-Government Agreement.

Teslin Tlingit Council signed their Self-Government Agreement.

The Self-Governing Agreements for Champagne, Vuntut, Na'Cho Nyak Dun and Teslin were

Gustafson Lake standoff. A major military operation was directed at a small group of protesters.
The Nisga'a, BC and Canada sign an Agreement-In-Principle.
Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation signed their Self-Government Agreement.

Selkirk First Nation signed their Self-Government Agreement.

Supreme Court hands down its unanimous decision on the Delgamuukw Case. The court ruled that aboriginal title to the land had never been extinguished. The previous trial judge had erred by not accepting oral history as evidence in the case. The claim was sent back to trial, suggesting that negotiations were the best way to resolve outstanding claims.
Tr'ondek Hwech'in signed their Self-Government Agreement
Ta'an Kwach'an Council signed their Self-Government Agreement.
Kluane First Nation signed their Self-Government Agreement.

A new Yukon Act comes into effect April 1 and confirms the provisions of the Devolution Transfer Agreement. It gives the Government of Yukon direct control over a much wider variety of provincial-type programs, responsibilities and powers.
Carcross Tagish First Nation signed
their Self-Government Agreement.
Kwanlin Dun First Nation signed
their Self-Government Agreement.
TSAWWASSEN First Nation signed their Self-Government Agreement.
Bill 42 is passed, Treaty First Nation
Taxation Act, which deals with Property
Taxes for Treaty First Nations.
Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper
issues a formal apology to First Nations across
Canada for the hurt caused by Residential Schools.
Amendments to the Indian Act are
made due to the outcome of the McIvor
case, which allows First Nations children descending matrilineally rights to their First Nations status.
Canada announced that it was endorsing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. (UNDRIP)
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) changed their name to Aboriginal Affairs (AANDC)

The Repeal of Section 67 is complete and Aboriginal people in Canada are granted Human Rights under the Canadian Human Rights Act.
Nisga'a Land Committee submits
Petition to British Privy Council in London
On his visit to Canada the Pope says that Canada’s Aboriginal people have a right to self-government, their own resources, and their own economy.
In 1976, as part of the land claims negotiations between the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (then called the "Inuit Tapirisat of Canada") and the federal government, the parties discussed division of the Northwest Territories to provide a separate territory for the Inuit. On April 14, 1982, a plebiscite on division was held throughout the Northwest Territories. A majority of the residents voted in favour and the federal government gave a conditional agreement seven months later.

The land claims agreement was completed in September 1992 and ratified by nearly 85% of the voters in Nunavut.
On July 9, 1993, the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement Act and the Nunavut Act were passed by the Canadian Parliament. The transition to establish Nunavut Territory was completed on April 1, 1999.
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