History of Canada

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1876 Apr 12

Indian Act


As Canada expanded, the Canadian government rather than the British Crown negotiated treaties with the resident First Nations' peoples, beginning with Treaty 1 in 1871. The treaties extinguished aboriginal title on traditional territories, created reserves for the indigenous peoples' exclusive use, and opened up the rest of the territory for settlement. Indigenous people were induced to move to these new reserves, sometimes forcibly. The government imposed the Indian Act in 1876 to govern the relations between the federal government and the Indigenous peoples and govern the relations between the new settlers and the Indigenous peoples. Under the Indian Act, the government started the Residential School System to integrate the Indigenous peoples and "civilize" them.