The legal relationship between Indigenous peoples and the Canadian state is complex, contentious, ambiguous and rooted in a history that far precedes the establishment of Canada itself. The relationship dates back to European "discovery" whereupon French, then English colonizers confronted vibrant and diverse indigenous nations. From then to now, the relationship moved broadly from one of nation-to-nation treaty building to the attempted erasure of indigeneity itself by means of colonization and assimilationist laws and policy. Most recently, the legal relationship has been influenced by a broad-based call for "reconciliation" between First Peoples and Canada, and between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. However, much of the relationship has been determined piecemeal through Canadian courts and only at the insistence of Indigenous claimants.
The following is a brief - but by no means exhaustive - list of links to information on significant treaties, policy and precedent-setting judicial decisions affecting the legal relationship:
This is one piece in Nadia Myre's collection 'Indian Act' in which she has beaded over pages of the original Indian Act.