Treaties are by their nature voluntary, negotiated agreements. To understand why First Nations and the British, then later the Government of Canada, entered into Treaties it is necessary to consider the reasons why each party entered into this process and what they hoped to get out of it.
For First Nations the Treaties are sacred and spiritual agreements, representing an alliance with the Crown that cannot be broken. From the First Nation perspective, the Treaties were entered into on a “nation-to-nation” basis to set out the relationship between the First Nations and the Crown.
To First Nations, the Treaties represented many different things, including a way to:
While First Nations agreed to respect the laws of the Crown, in return they expected to still be able to govern their own people according to their own laws.
There were a number of very practical reasons why Britain, and later Canada, chose to negotiate Treaties with the First Nations. Early on the Crown recognized the need for support from First Nations if they were to be successful in claiming what is now Canada for their own.
To the Crown, the Treaties represented many different things, including a way to:
One way to gain peace and support from First Nations and at the same time ensure that the First Nations could support themselves was to protect their way of life by Treaty.
Consider each of the following statements. Explain whether it is a myth or reality.