WHOSE IS IT?
Huge areas of Canada were never included in Treaties. Canada calls these First Nation lands unceded. What should happen to them?
UNCEDED land has never been covered by a Treaty.
The Parliament buildings, home of the Canadian government, sit on unceded land of the Algonquins of Ontario. These First Nations state they still hold all rights to the territory, which covers 36,000 square kilometres. The city council in St. John’s, N.L., starts its meetings with a statement that the province of Newfoundland and Labrador is the unceded land of Beothuk, Mi’kmaq and Labrador Indigenous peoples. Many cities, churches, schools and other organizations across the country are now making First Nation land acknowledgement statements.
The land where Vancouver now stands is the traditional territory of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations. Which nations should be able to discuss Treaties with the government, or be recognized as having rights to the land? Most of British Columbia is unceded territory. First Nations never agreed to share their ancestral lands there through Treaties or any other agreements. In 2014 Canada’s Supreme Court said the Tsilhqot’in Nation in B.C. still owned its traditional territory because it never made a Treaty. That decision applies to all First Nations lands not covered by a Treaty.
Montreal is on unceded Mohawk territory.
If you were in charge, what would you do about unceded land in Canada? What would you do about claims that Treaties were not fair to First Nations, who saw them as agreements to share land rather than deals to give it up?