What are Treaty Rights?
First Nations peoples whose ancestors signed peace treaties with the colonial and Canadian governments have treaty rights. The treaties were signed in exchange for land to be enjoyed by mainstream Canadian society.
No two treaties are identical. The treaty rights of an individual treaty First Nation person will depend on the precise terms and conditions of the treaty that their First Nation government signed.
Treaty rights typically provide for reserve lands, annual payments, and hunting, trapping, gathering and fishing rights.
First Nations treaty members receive $2, $3 or $5 per year in treaty payments.
Treaty costs are small in comparison to the gifts enjoyed by Canada during colonial settlement, and the building of Canada. These gifts continue into present day.
There is a common misconception that treaties are offered by the Canadian government to be nice. Treaties form a legal relationship between First Nations governments and our Canadian government.
In 1876, our Canadian government passed the Indian Act to put into law our federal government’s responsibilities to First Nations peoples and lands reserved for First Nations governments.