OCTOBER 7, 1763


The Royal Proclamation initially set guidelines for European settlement of Aboriginal territories in North America.  Issued by King George III after the Seven Years War, it gave the King sole ownership of North America, but acknowledged that Aboriginal title existed and would continue to exist until ceded by treaty.  Settlers could not claim Aboriginal lands unless first bought by the Crown.  Legal scholars recognize the Proclamation as the first step toward recognizing existing Aboriginal rights and title, as well as the right to self-determination.  Sometimes called “the Indian Magna Carta,” in Canada, the Proclamation is found in Section 25 of the Constitution Act.  While it ceased to apply to the American colonies after independence, the U. S. created similar law in the Indian Intercourse Acts.  Despite the Proclamation, Aboriginal peoples still have had to prove existing title in court.  In British Columbia, this issue is complicated further since most of the province was not ceded by its Aboriginal peoples.  

Source:  “Royal Proclamation, 1763,” indigenousfoundations.arts.ubc.ca.  Retrieved 7/15/2019, https://indigenousfoundations.arts.ubc.ca/royal_proclamation_1763/
Document:  King George III, 1763.  Library and Archives of Canada.  Public domain in UK: Published prior to 1969.

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