- Dec 2017
Proclamation of 1763
The encroachment of the English upon their land became a source of great hostility among the indigenous peoples of North America. In an effort to resolve this issue, King George III issued the Proclamation of 1763 – which drew an imaginary line along the crest of the Appalachian Mountains from Nova Scotia to Georgia. Subjects in the colonies were forbidden from settling west of this line unless purchased by the Crown. Settlers could only legally obtain land through negotiations with the indigenous peoples. As one historian explained, “Notwithstanding the Royal Proclamation’s stated intent and purpose, George Washington characterized it as a temporary pacifier to ‘quiet’ the natives”1. George Washington was indeed right as the boundary was pushed even further just five years after the Royal Proclamation. In 1768, the Indian Boundary line was established as the new boundary line. Located further westward than the original Proclamation line, this new boundary gave the natives significantly less territory2.
Since the Proclamation required lengthy negotiations, it slowed the English settlers’ movement west. Thomas Jefferson stated this to be one of the main causes of the Revolutionary War. It was initially “…drafted to deal with the aftermath of the Seven Years’ War and the transfer of extensive French and Spanish colonial territories to Great Britain in the Treaty of Paris, 1763”1. The Proclamation is a complex document with four parts; some relate to newly ceded territories, while others discuss the existing colonies. The first part of the Proclamation of 1763 states that portions of the newly acquired French and Spanish territories were to be made into British territories. These newly established colonies were Quebec, East Florida, West Florida, and Grenada, with other parts being left to existing colonies or the state. After establishing these new colonies, the Proclamation announced the expansion of old ones. The second part focuses on the constitutions of the newly established colonies; these constitutions follow the Law of England. The areas lying beyond the boundaries of Quebec contained the Indigenous peoples who were able to make their own laws. The third part differs from the first two, as it does not refer to land ownership and the way things are run. It offered free land grants to the officers and soldiers that served in the Seven Years’ War. Finally, the fourth and longest part of the Proclamation of 1763 contains detailed measures pertaining to Aboriginal people and their lands1.
Though Colin Calloway, a British historian, refers to the Proclamation as “…the Indian ‘Bill of Rights,’” scholars argue whether it supported or undermined the indigenous peoples3. Repeated references to the Crown’s sovereignty and dominion throughout the document make it clear that the Proclamation of 1763 gave Indians a scarce measure of control when it came to native matters. Unfortunately, this pattern continues throughout history; Berger notes that the Proclamation’s “...procedure for the purchase of Indian land was the basis for the treaties of the 19th and 20th centuries"4. Since it was issued in 1763, courts in both the United States and Canada have modeled their treaties after the Royal Proclamation.
Image: http://data2.archives.ca/e/e097/e002418682.jpg Caption: British colonies in North America.
- Jim Aldridge, Keeping Promises: The Royal Proclamation of 1763, Aboriginal Rights, and Treaties in Canada, ed. T. Fenge. Mcgill-Queen’s Native and Northern Series, 78. (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2015), 4-17.
- Eugene M. Del Papa, "The Royal Proclamation of 1763: Its Effect upon Virginia Land Companies," The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 83, no. 4 (1975): 406-407.
- Colin G. Calloway, The Scratch of a Pen: 1763 and the Transformation of North America. Pivotal Moments in American History. (Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 2006), 96-97.
- Thomas Berger, “Native Claims,” in Northern Frontier Northern Homeland: The Report of the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry. (Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 1988), 165.
The Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act
The Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (ISDEAA) was passed in 1975 by the Congress of the United States and increased the amount of self-governance of the native peoples1. If any Native American tribe requests a “self-determination” contract from the federal government, the government is obligated to give them one. This contract gives the tribe funding for programs and gives it the responsibility of running services administered by the federal government. The federal government is also required to provide “contract support costs” – the additional transaction costs of the Act. These costs are only enacted when the tribe decides to plan its own programs without the government’s help. The Act gives the native peoples a lot of freedom and leeway, as they are able to create something they can call their own through these government-provided funds. Funding for the ISDEAA comes from the Indian Self-Determination Fund, which has its limitations: the Availability Clause and the Reduction Clause. The Availability Clause provides that funds are subject to availability of appropriations, and the Reduction Clause states that funding to one tribe cannot be reduced to gain more funding for another2. This Act has been one of the most important legislative acts for Indians because it greatly affects them in a positive way. The Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act “…has been a key driver in improving communities throughout Indian country”3. One example of this would be the lives of the Navajos in Arizona. The Director of the Rough Rock Demonstration School told the Inquiry that under this new legislation they have established their own school system. The director describes the benefits of this, “Navaho people…are running a sophisticated school, unabashedly oriented to Navaho children”1. All of the staff comes from the community – giving the Navajos more jobs and income. The Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act not only improves the education of Native Americans, but their quality of life as well. This principle of native self-determination in education was already accepted in Canada in 1972. The National Indian Brotherhood wrote a policy paper called the Indian Control of Indian Education, which was accepted the following year1. The acceptance of native people’s self-governance was clearly growing in the 1970s. Because of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act, Native Americans were and are able to control more aspects of their lives, especially education.
A Navajo woman, Kathryn Manuelito, conducted research to emphasize the importance of education to the Indians. After studying the Navajo peoples she stated that “Since the passage of the Indian Self-Determination Act, which provides for tribal- and community based schools, many Indian peoples have considered formal education to be a primary force in the survival of their languages and cultures"4. The indigenous also believe that the act preserves their rights. Manuelito concluded that the traditional Navajo education that resulted from the Act has advanced and helped the Navajo to maintain their existing identities. By the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act, Indian cultures, especially the Navajo, were able to be preserved4.
Picture: http://data2.archives.ca/ap/a/a185534-v8.jpg Caption: Reverend Lachlan McLean counsels student soldier at Indian Residential School in the 1970s.
- Thomas Berger, “Native Claims,” in Northern Frontier Northern Homeland: The Report of the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry. (Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 1988), 183.
- Elizabeth M. Glazer, “Comments – Appropriating Availability: Reconciling Purpose and Text Under the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act,” The University of Chicago Law Review 71, no. 4 (2004):1637-1638.
- United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on Indian Affairs (1993), Amending the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act to Provide Further Self-Governance by Indian Tribes, and for Other Purposes: Report (to Accompany S. 979). (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Publishing Office, 2015), 1-2.
- Kathryn Manuelito, “The Role of education in American Indian Self-Determination: Lessons from the Ramah Navajo Community School,” Anthropology & Education Quarterly 36, no. 1 (2005): 73-75. http://doi:10.1525/aeq.2005.36.1.073.
James Bay Agreement
The James Bay Agreement was signed by the Cree and Inuit in November 1975 and is the only “comprehensive land claim” that covers an area where provincial governments control lands and resources1. The Crees had been living and trading furs east of James Bay since the early seventeenth century. Their economy was based off of hunting, trapping, and fishing, which was regulated by dividing the land into hunting territories. By the 1960s, provincial governments gained more of a presence in the Cree territories. The Cree continued to live in their homeland despite the fact that these “white” men made most of the decisions regarding politics and the way their communities were to be run. This takeover and disregard of Aboriginal rights caused a lot of unrest and frustration for the Crees.
In April of 1971 the Québec Premier Robert Bourassa announced the James Bay project, a hydro-electric development project in northern Quebec, without the consent of the Crees or consideration of basic land rights2. Infuriated, Cree and Inuit leaders went to court and, after 71 days of testifying, successfully postponed the project. Justice Albert Malouf ruled that the hydro project posed a threat to the Cree and Inuit cultures and way of life. Unfortunately, this ruling only lasted ten days and the James Bay project proceeded. As a result of Malouf’s initial decision in favor of Aboriginal land rights, a negotiation was made to benefit the indigenous peoples. Bourassa submitted an offer in 1973 that was eventually signed in 1975 after much consideration from the indigenous. Berger explains that “Under the James Bay Agreement, the Cree and Inuit of Northern Quebec have agreed to surrender their aboriginal rights…in return for cash compensation and for a land regime that gives them specific interests in three categories of land"3. The Cree and Inuit decision to secede their land has been attributed to them having no other option or choice in the matter. It was figured that the project was going to continue whether they agreed to it or not. The indigenous peoples received some power in the Agreement but their rights were essentially “subordinate to other public priorities”1.
Most of the region attained by the James Bay Agreement became category III lands – lands that were used for development. All of the lands and resources in category III belonged to Québec, but the indigenous were able to offer their opinion in the development of these lands. They also held exclusive rights to certain species of fish and animals and were able to continue harvesting. Category II lands allowed Native harvesters to hunt, trap, and fish with no outside competition from non-indigenous. However, the Cree and Inuit did not own any of the natural resources in these lands as they belonged to the Québecers. Lastly, Category I land was land that was essentially under Native control, though Québec still had ownership of mineral and development rights. Québec effectively asserted their dominance in what was previously known as Cree territories, and were able to prioritize hydroelectric and natural resource development1. While the structure of the James Bay Agreement allowed for input about land use from the Cree and Inuit, this input could be equated to mere consultation. The James Bay Agreement did not give the indigenous peoples as much influence as promised, which has become a common pattern throughout modern treaties4.
Image: http://data2.archives.ca/e/e431/e010767693-v6.jpg Caption: James Bay celebrating initial court victory with lawyers Max Lituack and James O’Reilly.
- Paul Rynard, “Ally or Colonizer?: The Federal State, the Cree Nation and the James Bay Agreement,” Journal of Canadian Studies 36, no.2 (2001): 8-14. https://doi:10.3138/jcs.36.2.8.
- Evelyn Pinkerton, Co-Operative Management of Local Fisheries: New Directions for Improved Management and Community Development (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2014), 190.
- Thomas Berger, “Native Claims,” in Northern Frontier Northern Homeland: The Report of the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry. (Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 1988), 177.
- Martin Papillon and André Juneau, eds. Aboriginal Multilevel governance. (Canada: The state of the Federation, 2013. Montreal: Institute of the Intergovernmental Relations, School of Policy Studies, Queen’s University, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2015), 84.