Indian affairs were more governed by the Federal Indian Act than by Aboriginal treaties. Introduced for the first time in 1876 as a consolidation of previous colonial regulations aimed at eradicating First Nations culture in favour of assimilation into Euro-Canadian society, Indian law has become the primary status by which the federal government manages Indian status, Local First Nations governments, and the management of reserve lands and municipal funds. The Act was amended several times, especially in 1951 and 1985, with the amendments focusing primarily on the elimination of particularly discriminatory sections. After 1763, the legal basis of the British colonies was unclear. Since the Mi`kmaq and Maliseet did not abandon their lands in the treaties, by what legal principle did the British grant land to the settlers and exploit the resources of the region? These and other issues have been the subject of various legal proceedings. In Nova Scotia, this led to the creation of a “negotiation process” (Kwilmu`kw Maw-klusuaqn), which began in 2002 and is still active today in resolving these outstanding issues. Today, contract day in Nova Scotia is a reminder of the special relationship between the Mi`kmaq and the Crown. This day is celebrated every year on October 1, 1986 (the year after the Simon case). As a central provision of numbered treaties, and where there were no treaties as political initiatives of the federal government, isolated enclaves, called Indian reserves, were created to accommodate Aboriginal peoples. The reserve system, as developed between the mid and late 19th century, was only a temporary measure and provided closed places where missionaries and state agents could indoctrinate indigenous peoples in economic, political, religious and social behaviour acceptable to Canada. The reserves offered the inhabitants a kind of refuge from the various forms of discrimination they faced in the outside world, but for policy makers and Church officials, they were reform laboratories where the inhabitants could be observed and judged and where the “Indian presence” of indigenous peoples could be ordered, regulated or displaced. [4] On these fragments of ancestral lands, indigenous inhabitants had the right to only be visited. Ownership and titles remained in Canada`s hands.

Canadians (British) and First Nations were at the same meetings, listening to the same speeches (translated) and signing the same documents. Yet they had (and have) two totally different concepts, on treaty issues and on what each party promised. The differences in understanding are rooted in two totally different worldviews and two totally different land ownership concepts and two competing objectives. Aboriginal activists have also criticized some modern treaties. For example, in the case of the Nisga`a contract, some have argued that Nisga`a has made concessions in areas such as taxation and property rights that have prejudiced the Nisga`a people. The natives also expressed their opposition to modern treaties through an armed view of Shuswap Nation advocates on Lake Ts`Peten (Lake Gustafsen) in the summer of 1995. This group questioned the legitimacy of a process that they said used the images of treaty drafting to conceal old patterns of colonization, including the co-optation of indigenous elites, the expropriation by erasing indigenous rights and cultural genocide by the assimilation of indigenous peoples to the euro-Canadian general public.