Treaties Recognition Week

Treaties Recognition Week in Ontario is honoured the first week of November each year. We encourage all schools to share information on treaties throughout November and the school year.

What is a Treaty?

A treaty is an agreement that was made between Indigenous Nations and the Crown and/or Governments (Federal). Treaties are living agreements that set out the rights, responsibilities and relationships between Nations.

Treaties may include:

  • annuities of goods and cash

  • exclusive rights/title to certain lands

  • inherent rights of fishing, hunting and harvesting 

  • promises of education, clothing, farming equipment and supplies and healthcare

Learning about treaties is important to know the history of this land and the rights and responsibilities that Indigenous People and all Canadians have to each other. By honouring and respecting the treaties, we honour and respect the history of Canada.

Types of Treaties

There are many types of treaties, each signed with different goals in mind.
Treaties with Indigenous peoples include both:

  • Historic Treaties with First Nations

  • Modern Treaties (also called comprehensive land claim agreements) with Indigenous groups

Prior to 1960, the treaties signed in Canada covered a majority of the country, except for most of the Yukon, British Columbia, Nunavut, Quebec, and most of the Maritime provinces .

Historic Treaties

The Government of Canada recognizes 70 historic treaties in Canada signed between 1701 and 1923. These treaties include:  

  • Treaties of Peace and Neutrality (1701-1760)

  • Peace and Friendship Treaties (1725-1779)

  • Upper Canada Land Treaties and the Williams Treaties (1764-1862/1923)

  • Robinson Treaties and Douglas Treaties (1850-1854)

  • The Numbered Treaties (1871-1921)

These treaties form the basis of the relationship between the Crown and 364 First Nations which fall under a treaty, representing over 600,000 of the over 800,000  First Nation peoples in Canada.

Canada and First Nations often have differing views with respect to the implementation of historic treaties; these issues are complex and are not easily resolved.  Canada and Treaty First Nations are exploring ways to advance treaty rights and interests.

Historic Treaties and Treaty First Nations in Canada

Historic Treaties and Treaty First Nations in Canada

  • 364 of 617 First Nations are Treaty First Nations (59%)
  • Historic treaties are located in nine provinces and three territories, covering nearly 50% of Canada's land mass
  • Total population of Treaty First Nations (2006) - 619, 020 people
  • 70 Recognized Treaties
    • 14 Douglas Treaties (1850-1854)
    • 11 Numbered Treaties (1875-1921)
    • 2 Robinson Treaties (1860)
    • 2 Williams Treaties (1923)
    • 30 Upper Canada Land Surrenders (1781-1862)
    • 3 Peace and Neutrality Treaties (1701-1760)
    • 8 Maritime Peace and Friendship Treaties (1725-1779)
Modern Treaties

Historic treaties have only addressed a portion of Indigenous rights to land across Canada. Land and resource-related negotiations are still underway in parts of the country where treaties were never signed.

The modern treaty era began in 1973 after the Supreme Court of Canada decision (Calder et al. v. Attorney-General of British Columbia), which recognized Indigenous rights for the first time. This decision led to the development of the Comprehensive Land Claims Policy and the first modern treaty, the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement signed in 1975.

Since 1975, Canada has signed 25 additional treaties (called modern treaties or comprehensive land claim agreements) with Indigenous groups in Canada. Some of these treaties include self-government.

 A map of the Modern Treaties in Canada

Treaties in Ontario 

  • Pre and post confederation, treaties were made between the Crown/Federal Government and First Nations.
    The Treaties outline how the land would be divided and what rights and annuities provided for use of land.

  • The Crown wrote the agreements, which in many cases did not reflect the negotiated terms of the agreement signed to by First Nation Peoples. 

  • The Government also broke many of the promises made both written and negotiated.

  • Ontario is covered by 46 different Treaties.

Explore this map and see what treaty applies to where you live.

Information on Treaties from the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation (COTTFN) Treaties, Lands, and Environment Department.

Chippewas of the Thames First Nation

  • Anishinaabe of Deshkaan Ziibing

  • Also known as Ojibway people whose original language, Anishinaabemowin, is identified within the Algonquin language family

  • COTTFN’s Traditional and Treaty territories together span the entirety of southwestern Ontario

  • Today, COTTFN’s reserve lands measure approximately 10,410 acres located along the Thames River, southwest of London

  • Traditional territory extends south of the Canada/U.S. border into Michigan

Treatied Territory Within Thames Valley From a Modern Viewpoint

The maps are an approximation intended for educational purposes.

Treatied Territory Within Thames Valley from a Modern ViewpointMagenta: Huron Tract Treaty - 1827 #29
Blue: London Township Treaty - 1796 #6
Orange: McKee Treaty - 1790 #2
Green: Longwoods Treaty - 1822 #25
Pink: Treaty #3

Pre-Confederation Treaties

  • Each of these Treaties took place before Canada’s Confederation

  • Represents a direct relationship between the British Crown and First Nations

  • The Treaties highlighted in this presentation read mainly as land sale transactions (later Treaties included assurances of access to hunting grounds or harvesting rights)

  • Treaties created during a time of great pressure to obtain land to populate Upper Canada with loyal British subjects

  • These Treaties were created at a time when land policies were underdeveloped

Learn More About Treaties with Danny Deleary

Click to view videoClick on the image above to view this video.


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