Crown-Aboriginal Treaty Making in Glengarry and Beyond: From the Royal Proclamation of 1763 to the Maa-nulth First Nations Final Agreement of 2011


Gordon Scott Campbell

Crown-Aboriginal treaty making has been fundamental to Canada’s legal, political and social evolution, including the non-Aboriginal settlement of Glengarry County starting in 1783. Although its ongoing legal effect is still debated, the Royal Proclamation of 1763 had lots to say about treaty making, including:

And whereas it is just and reasonable, and essential to our Interest, and the Security of our Colonies, that the several Nations or Tribes of Indians with whom We are connected, and who live under our Protection, should not be molested or disturbed in the Possession of such Parts of Our Dominions and Territories as, not having been ceded to or purchased by Us, are reserved to them, or any of them, as their Hunting Grounds … We do further declare it to be Our Royal Will and Pleasure, for the present as aforesaid, to reserve under our Sovereignty, Protection, and Dominion, for the use of the said Indians, all the Lands and Territories not included within the Limits of Our said Three new Governments, or within the Limits of the Territory granted to the Hudson’s Bay Company, as also all the Lands and Territories lying to the Westward of the Sources of the Rivers which fall into the Sea from the West and North West as aforesaid … And whereas great Frauds and Abuses have been committed in purchasing Lands of the Indians, to the great Prejudice of our Interests, and to the great Dissatisfaction of the said Indians: In order, therefore, to prevent such Irregularities for the future, and to the end that the Indians may be convinced of our Justice and determined Resolution to remove all reasonable Cause of Discontent, We do, with the Advice of our Privy Council strictly enjoin and require, that no private Person do presume to make any purchase from the said Indians of any Lands reserved to the said Indians, within those parts of our Colonies where We have thought proper to allow Settlement: but that, if at any Time any of the Said Indians should be inclined to dispose of the said Lands, the same shall be Purchased only for Us, in our Name, at some public Meeting or Assembly of the said Indians, to be held for that Purpose by the Governor or Commander in Chief of our Colony respectively within which they shall lie.

  Prompted largely by the Royal Proclamation of 1763, Canada undertook a host of Crown-Aboriginal negotiations which continue to this day. In this talk, Gordon Scott Campbell will place historic Crown-Aboriginal relations in Glengarry County within the greater context of treaty making prior to and long after the non-Aboriginal settlement of the area, and discuss how treaty making and Aboriginal claim resolution has shaped and will continue to affect the legal, political and social landscape of Canada.

Gordon Scott Campbell is a constitutional, aboriginal and criminal lawyer who has served as lead negotiator for Canada of modern Aboriginal treaties in British Columbia and Nova Scotia, as well as for resolving breaches of historic Aboriginal treaties, land or asset administration in Ontario and Manitoba. He has appeared as counsel in Aboriginal treaty rights cases up to the level of the Supreme Court of Canada, including in R. v. Marshall relating to natural resource harvesting rights. He holds degrees in common law and civil law from McGill University, as well as a degree in international relations and economics from the University of Toronto.