Colonialism Timeline
(Main Sources: Summary of Indian Policy in BC and Canada, by Robina Thomas, Rona Sterling-Collins, & Todd Ormiston)
1670 British parliament enacts first legislation concerning "Indians" to "protect" Indians from "evil" forces and to prevent "fraudulent trading practices."
1763 Royal Proclamation promotes and clarifies the pre-existing and conceded rights of Indian people. Indian Superintendents are appointed to govern the affairs of Indian people.
1815 The British government adopts another policy to "civilize" the Indian (as a result of propaganda in Britain and North America to Christianize all men) and to encourage the Indian to adopt European values. Initiated as an experiment in which Indian reserves are set up in isolated areas and Indians are encouraged to gather and settle in these villages, where they will be taught to farm and receive European religious instruction and education.
1839 Crown Lands Protection Act passes, assuring Crown control and ownership of Indian lands.
1850 Beginning of "Indian Treaties" granting limited land rights and financial compensation for the European acquisition of territory. One act vests control of all Indian lands and property with the Commissioner of Indian Lands, states that no sale of Indian lands can happen without Crown consent, and exempts Indians and resident spouses from taxes on reserve lands. A second act defines an Indian as all persons of Indian blood, the spouse of an Indian, anyone residing with Indians whose parents on either side were Indian, and anyone adopted in infancy by an Indian who resided on a reserve.
1851 The act defining Indians is amended to create the categories of status and non-status Indians.
1857 "An Act for Gradual Civilization of Indian Tribes" is intended to assimilate Aboriginal people into Canadian society. It promises enfranchisement to Indians who leave their reserve and Band and relinquish their Indian status.
1859 The scope of the Civilization and Enfranchisement Act is broadened to include all provinces in Canada regarding the sale of alcohol to Indians.
1867 British North America Act creates a united Canada amid fears of an American invasion, following the U.S. Civil War. The provinces are given jurisdiction and ownership of land and natural resources. Canada retains responsibility for Indians and land reserved for Indians.
1869 Enfranchisement Act attempts to intensify the assimilation process. It includes Clause Six, which states that Indian women who marry non-Indian men will, along with their children, lose their status.
1870 Territory of B.C. unilaterally denies existence of Aboriginal title to land.
1872 B.C. joins Canada. First act passed by B.C. is the Qualification and Registration of Voters Act of 1872, which strips First Nations of the vote in provincial elections.
1876 "Indian Act" is created by Parliament to define Indian status and outline the administration of Indian rights, but does not grant Indian rights.

Consolidates many laws already on the statute books. Changes include:
  • policy on use of Indian land by non-Indians
  • location ticket: if an Indian can demonstrate his use of land like a Euro-Canadian, after a 3-year probation period, he will be given title to the land and then enfranchised
  • elected Band Councils given more authority, which continues to break down traditional systems of government
  • immediate enfranchisement is to be granted to any Indian earning a university degree.
1880 Department of Indian Affairs is created.
1884 Indian Advancement Act gives power to the Indian Agent to direct Band Council. Other amendments include banning the Potlatch and requiring Indians to have permits to leave the reserve.
1886-87 Compulsory school attendance for Native children is decreed; residential and boarding schools are established.
1889 Aboriginal fishers are excluded from commercial fishing until 1923.
1890 Treaty 8 is signed, the last treaty signed before Nisga'a agreement 109 years later.
1906 A new consolidated Indian Act is introduced. All the amendments to the old act made it almost impossible to administer.
1927 Aboriginal people prohibited from raising money or retaining a lawyer to pursue land claims.
1950 Indian Act amendment removes major prohibitions against such things as land claims' activities and the Potlatch.
1960 Right to vote and retain Indian status are granted.
1969 Federal government releases its White Paper, in which it states its intention to absolve itself from responsibility for Indian Affairs and the special status of Indians and to repeal the Indian Act. The enforcement of this policy will realize the goal of assimilation. Under protest, the government reconsiders.
1985 Bill C-31 is passed to counteract previous legislation in which Aboriginal women who married non-Aboriginal men lost their Indian status, as did their children. With C-31 they can reapply for status for themselves and their children.
1986 Last residential school in British Columbia closes.