The Need to Take Treaty

The Royal Proclamation
and Treaty Making

In 1763, the British King, King George III, issued the Royal Proclamation to establish a basis for administering the newly acquired territory. The Proclamation stated that any land west of the colonies was to be recognized as Indian Territory. Only the Crown could purchase land from aboriginal people. White settlers were not allowed to “molest” or interfere with aboriginal people.

The Proclamation also established protocols for dealing with aboriginal people. It established a Treaty process which would entail the supposed “surrender” of aboriginal title.

In 1764, approximately 2000 Chiefs from all across British North America met with Sir William Johnson, who was acting under instructions from the British Crown. The meeting took place at Niagara. Copies of the Royal Proclamation were distributed among the Chiefs of the aboriginal Nations.

Two row wampum belts were made signifying that the First Nations understood that their relationship with the Crown would be one of peace and non-interference.

Author: Janet Armstrong, PhD