The Royal Proclamation of 1763 is recognized as one of Canada’s founding constitutional documents, and is sometimes referred to as a “Bill of Rights” for Indigenous people. Less well-known and recognized in Canadian classrooms and jurisprudence is a treaty entered into a year later, in July and August 1764, when about 2000 First Nations chiefs gathered at Fort Niagara to meet with British superintendent of Indian Affairs, Sir William Johnson.
The treaty of peace, friendship and respect entered into at Niagara 250 years ago set out a framework for Indigenous and British co-existence on Turtle Island, as the British were brought within the normative web of relationships already existing on Turtle Island. Included in the treaty negotiation was the reading of the text of the Proclamation – but the negotiations and terms of the eventual treaty were richer than the plain text of the document.
Come learn about the Treaty of Niagara and its implications for understanding the Royal Proclamation, the development of present-day Canada, and the Crown/First Nations relationship.
The first speaker for the evening is Al Corbière from Manitoulin Island, a carrier of a Niagara wampum replica, who will explain the historical context in which the Treaty of Niagara was negotiated, as well as the meaning and significance of wampum belts that embody the Treaty of Niagara. The second speaker is Aaron Mills, Trudeau and Vanier scholar and PhD candidate at the University of Victoria, who will discuss the significance of the Treaty of Niagara from the perspective of Anishinaabe law and constitutionalism and its implication for Canadian constitutionalism.
The Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism and the Aboriginal Law Students’ Association are proud to host this event as part of Indigenous Awareness Week 2014, in partnership with the Office of Social Equity and Diversity in Education. They would like to thank all event supporters, particularly Dionne Schulze S.E.N.C. and Hutchins Legal Inc. for their generous contributions that helped make this event possible.