A chronological timeline of important events in the history of the Carrier Sekani peoples beginning in 1763.
1763 – British Royal Proclamation reserved undefined North Americanland for Aboriginal people.
1774 – Juan Perez Hernandez claimed the Northwestern coast of North America for Spain.
1791 – Spanish explorer Esteban Jose Martinez traded copper sheetsto Nootka Sound Chief Maquinna for sawn timber.
1793 – Alexander Mackenzie became the first white man to travel through Carrier and Sekani territories while looking for fur-trading areas for the North West Company.
1805-1807 – Simon Fraser established four trading posts in Carrier and Sekani territories: Fort McLeod, Fort George, Fort St. James and Fort Fraser. Until the Hudson Bay Company and North West Company joined together in 1821, Fort St. James was the centre of government and commerce in British Columbia (then called New Caledonia). It claims to be the oldest established white settlement on the B.C. Mainland.
1807 – Simon Fraser built an 83 mile road from Ft. St. James to Ft. McLeod, the first colonial developed road in the territories.
1811 – D. William Harmon became the first recorded farmer west of the Rocky Mountains, in the Fort St. James area.
1828 – Chief Kwah captured James Douglas, whom he held until his release was negotiated. The incident lead to conflict among different Carrier Nations. Douglas went on to become the first governor of the united colony of British Columbia.
1830 – First civilian Department of Indian Affairs established. Previously, Indian Affairs were a military responsibility.
1842 – Father Demers, the first Oblate (0.M.I.) missionary arrived in New Caledonia. Father A. G. Morice arrived in 1885 and Father Nicholas Coccola came to Fort St. James in 1905. The first permanent Protestant missionary arrived in 1910.
1849 – Vancouver Island became a British Colony.
1850-54 – James Douglas negotiated 14 treaties with Aboriginal peoples on southern Vancouver Island.
1858 – The British Columbia mainland became a British colony.
1866 – The greater colony of British Columbia was established by joining the mainland and Vancouver Island. The population of the colony was then comprised of 63 000 Indians and 400 whites.
1871 – British Columbia joined Canadian confederation. Canada assumed responsibility for Aboriginal matters.
Omenica gold rush brought prospectors and miners into Carrier and Sekani territories.
1874 – First Indian Act consolidated all laws relating to native people.
1878 – Canadian Government began interference with Indian’s fishing rights by prohibiting the use of nets in freshwater and by making a distinction between food and commercial fishing.
1884 – The Potlatch was outlawed.
1885 – The arrival of Father A.G. Morice was significant as he had created the Carrier syllabary.
1889 – The federal fishing permit system was introduced.
1899 – Treaty 8 recognized some rights in northeastern British Columbia.
1901 – The Provincial Government asked “for a reduction in size of the already existing reserves”.
1903 – Rumours of a railroad from Winnipeg to Prince Rupert started the first rush of white settlers and land speculators to the Prince George area.
1906 – Barricade Treaty with the Babine Nation required salmon fishermen to abandon traditional weir systems and use gillnets instead, in exchange for largely unfulfilled promises. Similar agreements were negotiated with the Stellat’en, Nadleh Whut’en, Stoney Creek, Tl’azt’en and Nak’azdli members in 1909-1910.
1909 – The first sternwheeler steamboat landed at South Fort George and the first sawmill was built in South Fort George.
1910 – Prime Minister Laurier in Prince Rupert promised to settle the land question.
The Fulton Royal Commission on Timber and Forestry in B.C. called for provincial regulations to end misuse of forests by timber operators.
1912 – McKenna-McBride Royal Commission looked at redrawing reserve boundaries in B.C. Soon afterwards Indian people lost valuable reserve lands.
1913 – First Forest Service office opened in Prince George Forest Region, which included 42% of BC’s forest lands. The first timber sale was executed in 1914 for 1 152 000 board feet from the Prince George Forest District alone. This exceeded the volume of the entire province of Quebec. Eighteen mills were operating by 1927.
1914 – Grand Trunk Pacific Railway was completed from Prince George to the mouth of the Skeena River. The “last spike” was driven between Ft. Fraser and Vanderhoof. Grand Trunk Pacific Railway amalgamated into the CNR in 1923.
1915 – Allied Tribes of B.C. formed to pursue a legal case on Aboriginal rights.
1918 – Spanish Flu epidemic became the last of the devastating colonial disease outbreaks which raged periodically since the mid-1800’s.
Mennonite farmers began settling in Vanderhoof area.
1922-76 – Lejac Residential School in operation.
1926 – Provincial Government established regulations that Indians and non-Indians must register traplines.
1927 – The Federal Government adopted articles 141 of the Indian Act prohibiting Indians from organizing to discuss land claims — an offence punishable by fines or jail.
Parliament prohibited native organizations from spending money on title claims.
1939-45 – (World War II) More than 70 Carrier and Sekani people served in Canada’s armed forces. Most were denied standard military service entitlements upon their return.
1947 – School District No. 57 was established. Except for Prince George College, which provided residential high school, Indian students were sent to Lejac until the 1976.
First Crown Lands office opened in Prince George, covering all Carrier and Sekani territories.
1949 – Legislature extended the right to vote in provincial elections to Indians.
1951 – Parliament repealed the law against potlatch and land claims organizing.
1952 – Kenny Dam stopped the Nechako River. Cheslatta territories were flooded and the entire nation was relocated. Water systems and chinook and sockeye runs were degraded throughout the Carrier territories.
1960 – Canadian Indians were granted the right to vote in Federal elections.
1965 – Endako mine began production and was the largest producer of molybdenum in Canada until 1982.
1966 – First pulp mill opened in Prince George.
1968 – Lake Williston, the largest man-made reservoir in the world, formed behind W.A.C. Bennett Dam and flooded Tsay Keh Dene (Sekani) territories.
The Nisga’a took the Land Question to court with the opening of the Calder vs. the Attorney General of British Columbia case.
1969 – Indian Affairs Minister Jean Chretien released “White Paper” which would have terminated Indian Status and rights in Canada. It was rejected.
1973 – The Supreme Court of Canada split on the question of aboriginal title in the Calder case. Subsequently, the Federal Government reverses its stand on aboriginal title and began to negotiate comprehensive land claims agreements.
1974 – Formation of the Lakes District Chiefs, predecessor of the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council.
1975 – Tl’azt’en Nation blockaded BC Rail. Rejection of all government funding as a protest by the Union of BC Chiefs.
1976 – Lejac Residential School closed.
1979 – Carrier Sekani Tribal Council formed to succeed the Lakes District Chiefs’ organization.
1982 – The National Indian Brotherhood becomes the Assembly of First Nations.
1982 – Canadian Constitution affirmed existing Aboriginal and treaty rights and committed First Ministers to hold a constitutional conference on Aboriginal issues.
Pearse Commission Report: “Indian fisheries policy cries out for reform… in this context I perceive several urgent requirements to clarify and strengthen Indian fishing rights; to enable Indians to become involved in fisheries management; to provide opportunities for Indians to take better economic advantage of their rights; and to improve the administrative and enforcement arrangements.”
CSTC Declaration and Statement of Claim filed April 15, 1982 with federal claims commission.
1983 – CSTC Declaration and Claim accepted for negotiation under federal comprehensive claims policy.
1985 – Bill C-31 enabled many non-status Indians to regain status under the Indian Act.
1987 – Kemano II Project approved by secret federal/provincial/Alcan Settlement Agreement.
1990 – Sparrow decision from Supreme Court of Canada affirmed aboriginal fishing rights.
The provincial government agreed to join negotiations with Canada and the Nisga’a.
1991 – Chief Justice Allen McEachern of the B.C. Supreme Court decides aboriginal rights in B.C. were extinguished by pre-confederation legislation.
B.C. Claims Task Force recommended a process for negotiating with First Nations.
CSTC and Save the Bulkley Society obtained court judgement requiring environmental assessment of Kemano II. However the decision was reversed on appeal and not heard by the Supreme Court of Canada.
1992 – BC, Canada and First Nations organizations established B.C. Treaty Commission.
Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Canada, with B.C. First Nations implement the Aboriginal Fishery Strategy.
National referendum rejected Charlottetown Constitutional Accord including provisions for aboriginal self-government.
1993 – B.C. Court of Appeal in Delgamuukw case held some Aboriginal land rights continue to exist and upheld aboriginal hunting rights.
1993-94 – CSTC boycotted B.C. Utilities Commission “review” of Kemano II project. All first Nations in B.C. supported the boycott.
Between December 1993 and May 1994 over 40 First Nations submitted statements of intent to negotiate treaties to the B.C. Treaty Commission. The Treaty Commission accepted most as complete.
CSTC Statement of Intent filed on December 14, 1993, and is accepted into the treaty process.
1995 – Kemano II Project rejected by Premier Harcourt.
1996 – CSTC and the Governments of British Columbia and Canada prepare themselves for negotiations. This table was declared ready January 23, 1996, by the BC Treaty Commission.
In February, Canada, BC, and the Nisga’a sign an Agreement in Principle. The next stage is to have it ratified by each party.
1997 – CSTC signed its Framework Agreement with BC and Canada on April 25. This agreement can be seen as the negotiated “table of contents” or “agenda” for treaty negotiations.
BC and Alcan sign their agreement over the Kemano II cancellation, still living Alcan to control 87% of the Nechako River. This goes against the interests of CSTC nations.
On December 11, the Supreme Court of Canada hands down the Delgamuukw decision. This landmark ruling on the Gitxsan and Wet’suwet’en claim to their traditional territories states aboriginal rights and title does exist, however a re-trial is necessary to affirm their extent. But, the Court instead urges a negotiated settlement in place of new trial.
1998 – Indian Affairs Minister Jane Stewart, rather than the Canada’s Prime Minister, Jean Chretien, says Canada, in its Statement of Reconciliation, is “deeply sorry” for those who suffered abuse at federally-run residential schools, but there is no general apology to Indian people for its role in this assimilation process, other than a “profound regret for past actions”.
In March, a tripartite (First Nations Summit, BC, and Canada) review of the B.C. treaty process is undertaken as a result of the Delgamuukw decision.
In June, Canada and the United Church of Canada are both found liable, in the Supreme Court of British Columbia, for their historic role in the operation of a Port Alberni Residential School, where many children suffered sexual abuse. This decision opens the door for those victims and others to seek compensation.
1998 – JTF proposes independent commision and tribunal to resolve specific claims
1998 – Blueberry and Doig River bands reach $147 million settlement for reserve mineral rights
1998 – Minister of Indian Affairs makes statement of reconciliation re: residential school abuse
1998 – $350 million Healing Fund established to address legacy of residential schools
1998 – Nisga’a sign agreement with federal and provincial governments
1998 – United Church apologizes for its involvement with residential schools
1998 – Canada selects Vancouver-Whistler (Salish-St’at’imc territories) as Canada’s nominee to host the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Developers prepare a number of ski resort proposals for these territories.
1999 – Sechelt Agreement in Principle Signed
1999 – Nisga’a Treaty ratified by BC Legislature
1999 – Westbank First Nations initiates direct action by harvesting trees
1999 – Bill C-9, Nisga’s Final Agreement brought into House of Commons
1999 – Nisga’a Treaty passed second reading of House of Commons
1999 – Peace Treaty Signed by Haisla, Heiltsuk, Kitasoo, Xais Xais
1999 – New Territory Officially established: Nunavut
1999 – Supreme Court decides that off-reserve members should have voting rights in on-reserve elections-Corbiere Decision
2000 – The Nisga’a Final Agreement becomes Canadian law. The Nisga’a surrender 92 percent of their territory in exchange for expanded reserve lands and $190 million cash. The Nisga’a Lisims government is subject to provincial and federal laws. Nisga’a living in the settlement lands will be subject to BC, Canada, and Lisims taxation.
2000 – Chief Joe Mathias passed away, mourned by many
2000 – Nunavut Celebrates One Year Birthday
2000 – Historical Joint Statement regarding Aboriginal Title made by First Nations Summit, Assembly of First Nations, and Union of BC Indian Chiefs
2000 – St’at’imc people establish a protest camp at Sutikalh to stop a proposed ski resort development in the Cayoosh Mountains.
2000 – Neskonlith people establish Swelkwekwelt Protection Centre at the Sun Peaks Ski Resort in Secwepemc territory to stop resort expansion. Secwepemc youth and Elders endure 54 arrests over four years. Resort expansion continues.
2001 – Nuu-chah-nulth Agreement-In-Principle
2006 – Lheidli T’enneh First Nation Agreement-in-Prinicple (AIP) signed
2006 – Yekooche First Nation Agreement-in-Principle signed.
2006 – Aboriginal Interest and Use Study (AIUS) completed for understanding impacts of the Enbridge oil pipeline proposal.