By Or­der of King Ge­orge III

More than 250 years ago, First Na­tions rights and lands were rec­og­nized

Kayak (Canada) - - CONTENTS -

The ruler of Great Bri­tain — and there­fore of Bri­tish set­tle­ments in North Amer­ica — out­lined a set of prin­ci­ples for Treaty-mak­ing with First Na­tions in the Royal Procla­ma­tion of 1763. It was the most im­por­tant doc­u­ment in the his­tory of Treaty-mak­ing in Canada. The procla­ma­tion by King Ge­orge III rec­og­nized First Na­tions as na­tions with a huge land base in North Amer­ica.

No one could buy, make agree­ments about, or oc­cupy any First Na­tions land without an agree­ment with the First Na­tions. King Ge­orge re­minded his sub­jects that this ap­plied to them. Any­one who had set­tled on First Na­tions lands ac­ci­den­tally or on pur­pose had to leave.

The King’s rep­re­sen­ta­tives could buy land, but only if First Na­tions peo­ple agreed to the sale in a pub­lic meet­ing.

The Royal Procla­ma­tion was law for ev­ery­one in coun­tries ruled by Bri­tain. It says that First Na­tions peo­ple should not be harmed or dis­turbed in the huge area the procla­ma­tion rec­og­nized as theirs.

Gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials in North Amer­ica were not al­lowed to sell or give away land out­side ter­ri­tory they ac­quired, mean­ing they couldn’t touch First Na­tions land. And the King’s state­ment was clear that all land was First Na­tions land un­less it was cov­ered by a Treaty.

The Cana­dian Char­ter of Rights and Free­doms be­came law in 1982. Sec­tion 25 of the char­ter says that the rights and free­doms rec­og­nized by the Royal Procla­ma­tion of 1763 still stand. It re­mains the ba­sis of the nation-to-nation re­la­tion­ship between First Na­tions and Canada.

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