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Chronology for Indigenous Peoples in Canada

Publisher Minorities at Risk Project
Publication Date 2004
Cite as Minorities at Risk Project, Chronology for Indigenous Peoples in Canada, 2004, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/469f3877c.html [accessed 21 September 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.
Date(s) Item
1990 The Canadian Supreme Court rules unanimously in R. v. Sparrow that the historical pattern of regulations imposed by the Federal Department of Fisheries has not extinguished the Musqueam (a Native American tribe) right to fish for ceremonial, social and sustenance purposes. Moreover, the court placed Indian food fishing rights above all other claims on the fishery except conservation. The court also rules that the government has a constitutional duty to justify any government regulation limiting the aboriginal right to fish.
Jan 26, 1990 An official commission of inquiry concludes that a Micmac Indian was wrongly convicted of murder and had served 11 years in prison due, in part, to racial prejudice.
Feb 1 - Apr 30, 1990 Two major aboriginal land claims are settled. One settlement is between the Ontario government and five Indian bands on Manitoulin Island. The second is the Inuit in the Eastern Arctic.
Feb 26, 1990 Leaders of North American Indian tribes from both the US and Canada agree to assist each other with legal services and lobbying and law enforcement aid.
Mar 29, 1990 The Canadian Human Rights Commission criticizes the Canadian government over its treatment of its Native population.
May 2, 1990 Several hundred Canadian and US police enter the St Regis Mohawk Akwesasne reservation which straddles the US-Canadian border between Quebec and New York. The intervention follows several weeks of fighting between armed factions among the Indians which resulted in the deaths of at least 2 people and the displacement of many of the reservation's 9,500 inhabitants. The fighting is between pro- and anti-gambling factions.
Jun 23, 1990 The Meech Lake Accord, a package of amendments to the Canadian Constitution, collapses. The package includes an agreement that aboriginal peoples will be included in all future constitutional negotiations. The ratification vote in Manitoba is blocked by the combination of a filibuster by a Cree Indian legislator as well as testimony by 1,000 pro-Indian individuals and organizations who took advantage of a provincial rule which requires public hearings before the ratification of a Constitutional amendment. This opposition to the Accord is based on the fact that it does not recognize the 350,000 (Keesing's, 1990: 37519) Native Canadians as a distinct society and the accord gives excessive concessions to Quebec.
Jul 11 - Sep 26, 1990 The Surete de Quebec launches an unsuccessful raid on a 4-month blockade (which began on March 11) of a road leading to some disputed land at Oka municipal golf course. In sympathy the Kahnawake Mohawks blockade a main arterial bridge into Montreal sparking protests and racial confrontations by enraged commuters. Police failure to dismantle a barricade erected by warriors and Mohawk sympathizers at Oka result in a 78-day armed standoff. During this period: up to 3,700 Army personnel are involved at a time; a policeman is killed; up to 7,000 angry Canadian demonstrators clash with police, throw Molotov cocktails and burn Native effigies; the Canadian federal Deputy Indian Affairs minister accuses the Indians at Oka of being "criminals" and engaging in "armed insurrection"; and white protestors hurl rocks and debris at fleeing Mohawk elders, women and children while police and soldiers look on with apparent disinterest. Mohawk demands include: that the government turn over all disputed lands at the Kanesatake reserve to the Mohawks; that the government legalize the operation of an existing high-stakes bingo parlor on the Kahnawke reserve; and the government make a commitment to the creation--within 3 years-- of an autonomous domain that would encompass 6 Mohawk communities. The government does agree to purchase the disputed land. Most of the protesters flee on September 1 when army troops raid the barricade but about two dozen members of the paramilitary Mohawk Warrior Society, together with about 30 women and children, hold out until September 26 when they surrender because they prefer to surrender to the federal troops rather than the Quebec provincial police.
Jul 17, 1990 400 Native Canadians march in Ottawa in protest at the situation at Oka.
Jul 19, 1990 An unprecedented meeting of 200 chiefs, comprising the Assembly of First Nations, occurs over the situation at Oka. They demand UN intervention and an international economic boycott of the Canadian federal government.
Jul 25, 1990 British Columbia's Native affairs minister announces that for the first time, the province would recognize "certain aboriginal rights and interests." Native groups claim title to most of the land in British Columbia, saying that they never signed treaties or surrendered ownership of the land.
Aug 1990 South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu visits Osnaburgh Ojibway Reserve in northwestern Ontario. He says that Canada's treatment of its Native people is similar in many ways to South Africa's treatment of blacks under the system of apartheid.
Aug 9, 1990 The British Columbia government announces that it is willing to join First Nations and the federal government in land claims negotiations. British Columbia has refused to negotiate on the issue of land claims since it joined Canada in 1864.
Aug 13 - 21, 1990 In a dispute over land claims, Ojibwa Indians blockade 2 transcontinental railroads in northwestern Ontario for 5 days.
Sep 1, 1990 Prime Minister Mulroney announces a new federal aboriginal agenda dealing with 4 central issues: to accelerate land-claims settlements; to improve aboriginal social and economic conditions; to address the relationship between Native groups and federal and provincial governments; and to address Indian concerns regarding contemporary life in Canada. Mulroney rejects any notion of Indian sovereignty or self-government.
Sep 1990 According to a poll, 67% of Canadians believe that the government has broken its treaty obligations to Canada's aboriginal peoples, 70% believe that the government has failed to honor its treaty obligations, and 62% support land-claim settlements.
Oct 1, 1990 Loran Thompson, the unofficial leader of the Mohawk Warriors, surrenders to authorities.
Nov 3, 1990 Native leaders from across Canada announce that they are considering a boycott of the Citizen's Forum on Canada's Future after the government announces that all other pending reform efforts, including a planned royal commission on aboriginal concerns, would be postponed until the Citizen's Forum had completed its work.
Jan 8, 1991 Police violently clash with Mohawks on the Kahnawake reservation south of Montreal. Mohawk Grand Chief Joe Norton warns that there would be further violence unless Quebec authorities agree to return the policing of the reservation to the control of the Indians who had policed it for 11 years prior to the Oka incident (July, 1990).
Feb 1991 The Canadian Supreme Court rules that the Native ritual of spirit dancing is subject to Canadian law protecting individual rights and is not a constitutional aboriginal right. The case involves a civil suit by a member of the Salish nation who was subjected to the right against his will at the request of his family members.
Mar 8, 1991 The British Columbia Supreme Court dismisses land claims brought by 2 Native tribes in the province.
May 16, 1991 A federal judge orders a full environmental review of a half-completed hydroelectric-power project near Kitimat, British Columbia. The suit was brought by the Carrier-Sekana Tribal Council and several environmentalist groups.
Jun 1991 Two days of protests by Cree Indians over the Great Whale hydroelectric project in Quebec cause the cancellation of all scheduled public hearings. This project remains controversial for some time to come.
Jun 12, 1991 The AFN elects Ovide Mercredi as its new leader.
Jun 26, 1991 The federal government announces that it will fund programs to help victims deal with lasting problems caused by abuse at government-run residential schools. Evidence of physical and sexual abuse at residential schools had been revealed in the past few years. Native leaders claim that high rates of family breakdown, physical and sexual abuse, depression, alcoholism, and suicide are related to the damage done by residential schools.
Jul 5, 1991 Native leaders reach an accord with the Canadian Constitutional Affairs Minister on a plan to allow Indians to conduct their own public hearings and constituent assemblies on reform of the Canadian constitution.
Jul 15, 1991 The Gwich'in Tribal Council and the governments in Ottawa and the Northwest Territories initial a comprehensive land-claim settlement which, pending ratification, will restore tribal rights to about 23,500 sq. km. of land.
Jul 30, 1991 Chief Ted Moses of the James Bay Cree Nation tells a UN commission that if Quebec declares sovereignty, the Cree Indians of James Bay would in turn declare themselves an independent nation. He also notes that the Cree of James Bay are engaged in an ongoing dispute with the Quebec government over a hydroelectric project.
Aug 1991 The federal government announces the formation of a Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples.
Aug 6, 1991 Ontario becomes the first province to recognize Indian rights to self government when Premier Bob Rae signs a statement of political relationship with Indian chiefs. The agreement promises that all future negotiations will be on a government to government basis with the local AFN acting as the Indian government.
Aug 15, 1991 The Canadian Supreme Court upholds an 1850 treaty in which the Indian inhabitants of the Lake Temagami region in Ontario had surrendered their rights to white settlers.
Aug 25 - 27, 1991 For the first time, the leaders from 4 national Native organizations are invited to attend an annual meeting of the premiers of 9 of Canada's 10 provinces. (The premier of Quebec boycotts the meeting over the failure of the Meech Lake Accord.)
Aug 27, 1991 The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Affairs is established by the federal government. The commission is asked to study several issues including: the legal status of treaties between Native tribes and the government; aboriginal self government; economic and social problems confronting Native peoples; relations between Natives and non-natives and between different Native groups; and the scope of constitutional protections for aboriginal peoples and the government's responsibilities toward them.
Sep 7, 1991 Federal Justice Minister Kim Campbell announces that she is willing to consider fundamental changes in Canada's justice system in an effort to solve the problems faced by aboriginal peoples. Campbell, however, rejects the concept of a separate Native justice system. The comment follows several provincial and federal reports calling for a separate Native justice system.
Sep 10, 1991 Due to a suit filed by the Cree Indians of Quebec, a federal judge orders the federal government to conduct an environmental study of the planned Great Whale hydroelectric project.
Sep 18, 1991 The Canadian Royal Commission on Electoral Reform recommends that a number of seats in the House of Commons be set aside for aboriginal peoples to ensure that Native Canadians are adequately represented. Because Natives are a minority in almost every electoral district in the country, most are unable to elect Native politicians.
Sep 24, 1991 Ovide Mercredi, national chief of the AFN, criticizes a new round of proposed constitutional changes for failing to treat aboriginal groups as sovereign nations in their own right. Other Native leaders, including Rosemarie Kuptana president of the Inuit Tapirisat, feel that the proposals are a step in the right direction.
Dec 9, 1991 The province of Ontario and the federal government sign an agreement to provide 608.6 sq. km. of land and C$60.5 million (US$53 million) to 6 impoverished Indian bands in northern Ontario. This is the first time in Canadian history that a province agreed to provide government-owned land as part of a settlement without requiring compensation from the federal government. The Indians had reportedly been squatting on their ancestral land without adequate homes, water supplies or sewerage.
Dec 16, 1991 Canada's largest aboriginal land claim is settled by the government and representatives of the Inuit. The agreement provides for a semi-autonomous Inuit territory of approximately 2,000,000 sq. km. or about 20% of Canada's landmass. The region will be called Nunavut. The agreement remains subject to a referendum.
Jan 15, 1992 The Canadian Human Rights Commission concludes that the rights of a Native Inuit group had been violated when they were forcibly relocated from northern Quebec to the Arctic wilderness of Cornwallis and Ellesmere Islands between 1953 and 1955 where they were left without food and shelter. The federal government issues a formal apology but refuses to address Inuit demands for compensation for pain and suffering.
Feb 9 - 9, 1992 At a conference on constitutional reform, Native groups raise the demand that they be recognized as a "distinct society"--the same phrase that Quebec is seeking to enshrine in the constitution as a description of itself. Native legislator Ovide Mercredi further demands that limits be placed on any "distinct society" clause for Quebec in order to protect the Native population from the Quebec government. Quebec legislators react angrily and say that "...If Quebec becomes sovereign, it will do so over all its land."
Feb 13, 1992 The Royal Commission on Electoral Reform and Party Financing recommends the creation of aboriginal constituencies in provinces with large Native populations.
Mar 31, 1992 Quebec Energy Minister Lise Bacon criticizes Northern Cree Indians and blames them for the loss of a contract to export electricity to New York State. Bacon further blames them for "discrediting Quebec all over the world."
May 4, 1992 In a referendum, Northern Territories voters agree to the creation of an Inuit semi-autonomous region to be called Nunavut, "our land." The agreement is expected to take effect by 1999 and its government will gain its full powers by 2008. The package is officially called the "Nunavut Final Land-Claims Agreement."
Aug 17, 1992 Stanley J. McKay, a Cree Indian, is elected national leader of the United Church of Canada, the country's largest Protestant church denomination.
Aug 23, 1992 A constitutional conference presents a new proposal for constitutional amendments called the Charlottetown Accord. The agreement would allow unprecedented powers of self-government to Canada's Indian population including the right to raise taxes and exercise direct regulation of their internal affairs. This would, in essence, create 3 levels of government in Canada: federal, provincial and Native. The package is eventually rejected. The AFN's participation in and support of this accord results in a severe loss of legitimacy among Native people in Canada.
Oct 26, 1992 In a national referendum, Canadians reject the Charlottetown Accord. Polls suggest that the rejection was not due to the provisions for aboriginal self-government. 62% of those living on reservations rejected the accord. Many Natives complain that the accord does not adequately spell out the self-government provisions.
Nov 3 - 5, 1992 A referendum held among the Inuit people approves the establishment of the semi-autonomous territory of Nunavut.
Feb 9, 1993 The federal government agrees to help to relocate, at their request, the inhabitants of a northern Indian village who had been plagued by social and economic problems.
Mar 5, 1993 Yvon Dumont becomes the first Metis lieutenant-governor in Canada.
Mar 29, 1993 Windspeaker, published in Edmonton, Alberta, becomes the first national Native American newspaper.
Apr 30, 1993 The Tla-o-qui-aht Nation threatens to stop logging in their ancestral lands until they are guaranteed a voice in decisions that affect their land-claim or their compensation for resource use. They do not object in principle to logging in the forest.
May 25, 1993 The "Nunavut Final Land-Claims Agreement" is formally signed.
Dec 1993 Unhappy with the Canadian justice system's attempts to deal with local criminals, the Native Innu community on the remote island of Davis Inlet in Newfoundland evicts a judge from the area.
Jan 18, 1994 The federal government announces that it will work with Native peoples to implement aboriginal self-government. It also announces that it will speed up the land-claims process, increase funding for aboriginal postsecondary education, and introduce an aboriginal head-start educational program.
May 17, 1994 Canadian Indian Affairs Minister Ron Irwin promises that lands held by indigenous peoples in the province of Quebec could remain part of Canada if Quebec chooses to separate from the nation.
Sep 8, 1994 The Newfoundland government decides not to use the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to reestablish a provincial court on the remote island of Davis Inlet. Talks with the Natives who want a special Native justice system break down. Newfoundland Justice minister Edward Roberts announces that the provincial government will not reopen the talks until the Innu accept Canadian laws, allow the court to return and accept a mutually acceptable policing agreement.
Oct 21, 1994 The Mohawks of the Kahnawake reserve in Quebec sign an agreement with Canada to manage their own employment and training programs which are currently run by the federal government.
Feb 9, 1995 An official Canadian government report revealed that Native peoples were 3 times more likely to commit suicide than the Canadian population as a whole, with adolescent Native girls eight times more likely to kill themselves than the general population. Native leaders blame the forced assimilation of Natives for the high suicide rates, and point out that this average has remained unchanged for decades, despite many government studies. (Agence France Presse 2/9/95)
Mar 3, 1995 The Haida Nation challenged the extension of the logging rights of a private company on Queen Charlotte Islands in British Columbia. The license was to end in 2006; the extension would have allowed the company to log until 2020. (Agence France Presse 3/3/95)
May 5, 1995 Native people announced a plan to go to Brussels to protest a decision by the European Union to not accept animal pelts from animals trapped by leg clamps, as demanded by animal rights activists. The Native people believed this would deprive them of their income and self-sufficiency, as a similar ban on seal pelts did in the 1980's. They were also upset that the Canadian government did not represent their demands more adequately. (Agence France Presse 5/6/95)
Jul 4, 1995 60 Micmac Indians blocked a road which allows access to the Big Hole Tract River as part of an ongoing dispute over fishing rights. A dozen Micmacs had been arrested for using nets to catch salmon in the shallow river, in violation of a May agreement, but Micmac Chief Frank Thomas said that the right to fish had been guaranteed by British colonial rulers in 1772. (Agence France Presse 7/4/95)
Jul 29, 1995 Chippewa Indians took over the Ipperwash Military Reserve in a land dispute. The military took over the land, originally part of the Chippewa Reservation, as part of the war effort in 1942, but promised to return it. There was also a lawsuit ongoing, demanding $725 million for the government=s failure to return the land as promised. In fact, the government had agreed in February 1994 to return the land pending an environmental review and clean up of the toxic materials left on the base. It had also already paid $50,000 in 1942 to cover moving costs and $2.4 million in compensation was provided in 1981. It said the settlement of the protestors on the land was impeding the needed cleanup. (New York Times 8/27/95)
Sep 5, 1995 Mounted Police brought in armored cars to try to end a standoff on private ranchland near Gustafson Lake, British Columbia. About 30 Indians took up residence there in July, claiming the area was sacred, and refused to leave, firing upon officers on September 4. The siege finally ended on September 17, by which time most Indian organizations had denied that the land in question was sacred and denounced the standoff. (New York Times 9/6/95 and Agence France Presse 9/18/95)
Sep 12, 1995 The standoff at the Ipperwash Military Reserve ended when the government returned the disputed land to the Chippewa. Research into the claim had revealed documents declaring it to be sacred. During the dispute, police had fired upon the Chippewas, killing one and injuring two others. (Agence France Presse 9/14/95)
Nov 1995 The Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge, Canada=s first prison designed for Native inmates, opened. It housed women in townhouses, allowed children to stay with their inmate mothers, and included customs such as sun dances and sweat houses as part of the correctional program. The majority of the staff was also indigenous. Across Canada, other reforms began to recognize the needs of indigenous people in prisons, including sweat-lodge ceremonies in most prisons and the establishment of Native sentencing circles which allowed people to sit down with tribal leaders to work out restitution after crimes, upon a judge=s approval. A royal commission had recommended that the Canadian government give the Indians the right to administer their own justice system, but the government had not yet decided whether to act on that suggestion.(New York Times 7/17/96)
Mar 13, 1996 Native people attending a parliamentary conference of Arctic nations publicly criticized the European Union=s planned ban on the purchase of the pelts of animals trapped in leg clamps. (Agence France Presse 3/13/96)
Apr 2 - 4, 1996 Aboriginal jurists from the United States, Canada, and New Zealand convened the First Nations International Court of Justice in Ottowa to try the Canadian government on a variety of charges based on Canada=s treatment of Native people. The charges included: unlawfully interfering with the free exercise of jurisdiction by the First Nations through the forceful application and enforcement of Canadian laws within First Nations territories, the unlawful imposition of Canadian laws on First Nations citizens without the consent of the First Nations, and the unlawful seizure of resources and property through the imposition of laws that exceeded federal jurisdiction, including the unauthorized collection of taxes and other charges and levies from First Nations and First Nation citizens. The Canadian government, though invited to defend itself, refused to participate. (Agence France Presse 4/3/96)
Apr 25, 1996 Fifty protestors demonstrated outside an aboriginal school as Britain=s Prince Charles visited. They protested the treaties which the Crown had made - and subsequently broken - with Canada=s Native peoples. (Agence France Presse 4/25/96)
May 7, 1996 Ovide Mercredi, grand chief of the Assembly of First Nations filed a suit with the Canadian Human Rights Commission against Air Canada, for an ad which featured Chief Comfortabull. He said the ad, which showed an overweight white man, played off the Sioux Chief Sitting Bull, and reinforced the stereotype that Indians are lazy. (Agence France Presse 5/7/96)
Jul 8, 1996 Ovide Mercredi called for a sovereignty-association with Canada, imitating Quebec=s call for a similar arrangement, to avoid assimilation into white culture. (Agence France Presse 7/8/96)
Nov 21, 1996 The Royal Commission set up after the 1991 Oka crisis released a report with a series of recommendations to increase Indian self-government in the hopes of avoiding more violence. Among the suggestions: the establishment of a fund to improve infrastructure and education on Indian lands; the granting of more land to the Metis; increasing Indian control of the justice system at times when it directly affects them; and possibly even creating a third chamber of parliament with limited powers, which would house aboriginal representatives. (Agence France Presse 9/21/96)
Nov 22, 1996 The Canadian government agreed to move the Innu people from Davis Inlet, in Newfoundland, to a new location. The Innu - originally a nomadic people - had been forced to live on Davis Inlet in 1967, and had quickly fallen into high unemployment and alcohol abuse. The settlement also lacked many of the things the government had promised them, notably water, access to hunting grounds, and sturdy housing. The agreement between the Innu and the government allowed the Innu to move and rebuild, and gave them a say in everything about their new settlement, provided they cut down on the alcohol abuse and improved their employment prospects. (New York Times 11/22/96)
Feb 4, 1997 The Grand Council of the Cree and the Assembly of Free Nations protested proposed gun control legislation in the House of Commons. They felt the legislation would deny Native sovereignty on Indian reserves, and went against a previous legislative promise to consult Native groups on the issue. (Agence France Presse 2/4/97)
Feb 25, 1997 About 200 Native people marched on Parliament Hill to protest government inaction in implementing the reforms recommended by the Royal Commission in November (see Nov. 21 1996 entry). Ovide Mercredi threatened to step up the protest by having various tribes block parts of the Trans-Canada Highway across the country. (Agence France Presse 2/27/97)
Mar 20, 1997 Michelle Falardeau-Ramsay, Canada's chief human rights commissioner, held a press conference after presenting her annual report on human rights to Parliament. In it, she criticized Prime Minister Jean Chretien for not taking any action on the Royal Commission Report. (Agence France Presse 3/20/97)
Aug 27, 1997 A court put an injunction on plans to build the worlds largest nickel mine in northern Labrador until courts finished sorting out land claims by the Innu and Inuit. (Agence France Presse 8/27/97)
Sep 10, 1997 The Cree people decried provincial plans to settle 2000 white francophones in Indian territory. The provincial government of Quebec, where the settlement would be located, said the government wanted to build a town around a new hydro-electric plant in the Indian territory to save the expense of having to fly the plants' workers in and out of other towns. The Cree believed the plan was a form of ethno-colonization, and were worried that it was an attempt to keep the Indians from trying to remain part of Canada in the event of Quebec=s secession. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 9/10/97)
Dec 12, 1997 A Canadian Supreme Court forced the broadening of the legal understanding of the land rights of Native peoples. It struck down previous rulings which held oral histories and traditions as insufficient evidence for land claims, and pointed out that such evidence was often the only evidence available. In recognizing aboriginal titles to land, the court said Native people not only have the right to occupy traditional lands, but are also entitled to use the land in ways not limited to traditional activities like hunting and fishing. The only exception was uses not compatible with the Native people's "attachment to the land," such as strip mining. (New York Times 12/12/97)
Jan 7, 1998 The Canadian government issued a formal statement of reconciliation to all Canadian Indians, Inuit and Metis, and acknowledged its past injustices, including the creation and oversight of the boarding schools where many Indian children were abused. The Canadian government also announced it would contribute 350 million dollars (245 million US) to a "healing" fund that will help aboriginal communities treat survivors of the ordeal. While some Indians were satisfied by the measure, others, especially the Inuit, felt that the government did not go far enough, and did not apologize for all its injuries. (Agence France Presse 1/7/98 and New York Times 1/8/98)
Feb 17, 1998 The Cree Indians of James Bay filed suit in the Supreme Court of Canada, to try to remain part of Canada should Quebec try to secede. Most Indians wanted to remain in Canada, but people in Quebec do not want to give up the Indian territory, which includes Quebec's hydro-electric power plant. (Agence France Presse 2/18/98)
Jul 17, 1998 Inuit resumed the hunting of whales for the first time in 50 years. The Inuit control over Nunavut included control over its waterways, thus allowing the practice. The Canadian government had placed restrictions on whaling in its waters. Environmental groups expressed concern because whales were an endangered species in the area. (Agence France Presse 7/19/98)
Jul 22, 1998 The representatives of Canada, British Columbia and the Nisga'a people reached an agreement ending a series of land rights claims. The treaty included the transfer of land to the Nisga'a - who would be expected to set up their own justice and police systems and control all waterways and natural resources - and the improvement of roads in exchange for the Nisga'a promise to phase out their tax-exempt status as Status Indians. The final treaty was signed August 5, although the provincial legislature, the federal parliament and the Nisga'a people both still had to ratify it. (Agence France Presse 7/23/98 and New York Times 8/5/98)
Aug 6, 1998 Micmac Indians blocking a highway in Quebec refused to disband when presented with a injunction on their activities, which was written in French. The Micmac did not speak French. The blockade initially arose because a minority of the tribe felt that they should have unlimited logging rights in Quebec, instead of being bound to the 10,000 cubic meter (350,000 cubic foot) limit agreed upon by their leaders and the Quebec legislature. The three-week protest ended August 18 when Micmac and Quebec officials signed an agreement giving the Micmac the right to log and creating 110 seasonal forestry jobs for them. (Agence France Presse 8/6/98 and 8/18/98)
Aug 20, 1998 The Supreme Court decided that Quebec did not have the right to unilaterally secede from the rest of Canada, but that instead such a decision would have to be the start of a negotiation process. The Court did not rule on the related issue of whether Indians had the right to remain a part of Canada if Quebec ever did secede. (Agence France Presse 8/20/98)
Dec 1998 A court granted hunting and fishing rights to a group of Metis - Indians with some European ancestry. The decision recognized Metis as having distinct cultural rights as aboriginal people for the first time, and put their other suits in a more favorable light. Because the Metis formed a society outside the traditional Indian society in the 1800's, they were excluded from the original treaties which gave rights and privileges to status Indians. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 1/23/99)
Feb 15, 1999 In the first parliamentary election in Nunavut, the new Inuit territory, 15 Inuit and 4 white representatives were elected by 12,000 eligible voters. The parliament will start April 1. (Agence France Presse 2/16/99)
Apr 1, 1999 Nunavut became an official Canadian territory amid Inuit celebrations. Although it marked the end of a 23-year struggle for the Inuit, who had never officially signed treaties ceding their territory to Canada, some parts of Canada were not happy about the change. "One-fifth of Canada will be put under a government whose purpose it is to represent one ethnic group," The Ottawa Citizen newspaper said in an editorial. Canada will have its first Bantustan, an apartheid-style ethnic homeland. Officially, the government promised not to exclude any ethnic group. (New York Times 4/2/99)
Apr 16, 1999 A report in The Saskatoon Star Phoenix noted that an aboriginal person was 20 times more likely to die in a homicide than a white person in Saskatoon. Native people made up only seven percent of the city's population, but accounted for 60% of the murder victims and also 60% of those accused of committing murder. In the province of Saskatechewan as a whole, they make up 17% of the population, but 56% of murder victims. Sociologists blamed the high rates on a variety of factors, including the destruction of Native culture, high alcoholism and drug abuse rates, lack of education, and high concentrations of underprivileged groups in the prairie=s inner cities. (Deutsche-Presse-Agentur 4/16/99)
Jul 20, 1999 According to newspaper reports, Indian bands used the First Nations Tribal Justice Institute in Mission - which received a lot of its funding from the Canadian government - to train paramilitary-style security militias. The training was supposed to help Indians become security guards on the reserves, but some leaders said that there was nothing wrong with trying to create militias to monitor the use of Native lands, keep order during protests, and protect Native protestors. "We want to get out in the field and take political action. It's non-violent action. We are using them (the militias) to keep situations peaceful," said Chief Art Manuel, although other leaders expressed alarm at the idea. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 7/20/99)
Jul 23, 1999 At the conclusion of the four-day conference of the Canadian Assembly of First Nations (AFN) and the U.S. National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) in Vancouver, officials signed a document pledging to work together to fight many of the problems facing Indians in the Americas. While the document stressed the "distinct identities, cultures, languages and traditions" of American Indians, it also pointed out common issues that create a bond. The tribes demanded that their "inherent right to self-determination will be upheld." Since many Native Americans live in desperate poverty on reservations, the declaration also stated "advancing the economic and social well being of the citizens of all our nations" as a central goal. (Agence France Presse 7/23/99)
Sep 17, 1999 A Canadian court upheld a 1790 treaty granting Indians in Nova Scotia the right to hunt and fish year-round. (Agence France Presse 9/17/99)

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