Aboriginal title: A legal term referring specifically to the inherent sui generis Aboriginal right to land or a territory derived from historical occupation and use of a location which can only be transferred to the Crown per the Proclamation of 1763. When ceding land, in many cases Indigenous people reserved usufructuary rights to continue to use the land and its resources following surrender, which courts have determined requires consultation on the part of the land owner if proposed changes to the use of the property will impair the reserved rights.
American War of Independence: (1776–83) A war in which 13 of the British colonies in North America rebelled against British rule in part for the Quebec Act, and the Proclamation of 1763, both of which blocked expansion into lands that colonial elites had invested in. The loss of this war is a blow to the Indigenous allies of the British and impoverishes the Haudenosaunee Confederacy.
Amherst, Jeffrey, Lord: (1717–97) As Governor-General of British North America at the close of the Seven Years’ War, Amherst is known to be the only commander to recommend in writing the distribution of smallpox blankets with the intent to infect Indigenous people, elaborating “as well as to try to do every other method that can serve to extirpate this execrable race.” His complete abrogation of all agreements in the Treaty of Easton as well as all Indigenous diplomatic and trade protocols led to Obwaandi’eyaag’s Resistence in 1763 and the Proclamation of that year. He was recalled to London to answer questions with regard to his role in causing the Resistence.
annuities: The practice of providing annual distributions to First Nations in exchange for their lands in perpetuity. First appear in the Halifax Treaty of 1752 and are common by the early nineteenth century.
Federation of Seven Fires: A mid-eighteenth-century alliance network whose central fire was at Kahnawake linking French mission Indians, who joined with Obwaandi’eyaag with an intent to resist European settlement, that did not survive the settlement pressures of the 1830s. It consisted of the Iroquois mission villages on the St Lawrence (Kahnawake, Kanesatake, Oswegatchie, and St Regis), Wabanaki (called the Abenaki at St Francois and Bécancour), and the Wendat (called the Huron of Lorette).
fee simple title: The most complete form of land ownership. A fee simple buyer acquires ownership of both land and buildings and has the right to possess, use, lease, and dispose of the land as he or she wishes without oversight.
Haldimand Grant: The grant of a tract of land extending from the source of the Grand River north of Grand Valley in southwestern Ontario to its mouth, where it discharges into Lake Erie at Port Maitland, that extended six miles (10 km) from either side of the Grand River in Upper Canada (Ontario), totalling 2,842,480 acres, granted in 1784 to loyalist Haudenosaunee people “which them and their posterity are to enjoy forever” by Frederick Haldimand, governor of Quebec, in acknowledgement of service provided and lands and lives lost during the American Revolutionary War. The Mississauga Ojibwe had ceded 3 million acres (1,214,100 ha) on the Niagara Peninsula to the colonial government from which this grant was made.
Haldimand Tract: See Haldimand Grant
Johnson, Sir William: (1715–74) Military commander who was colonial Superintendent of Indian Affairs from 1755 until his death in 1774. The Haudenosaunee named him Warraghiyagey, or He who does much business. He was married “after the custom of the country” to Koñwatsiãtsiaiéñni, establishing kinship ties that would help him to build enormously strong bonds between the British and the Haudenosaunee.
Koñwatsiˀtsiaiéñni: (Mary Brant, c. 1736–96) Highly influential Kanien’keha:ka leader, wife of Sir William Johnson, and sister of Thayendanegea (Joseph Brant) who played a role in restoring the Haudenosaunee–British alliance, when the Kanien’keha:ka formally renounced it in 1753, and maintaining it through the American Revolutionary War.
Michilimackinac, Fort: From the Anishinaabe term Michi Makinong or Great Turtle, a French and then later a British fort located beside the Odaawaa village at the Straits of Mackinac connecting Lakes Huron and Michigan which served as a key site of trade and diplomacy from the late seventeeth to early nineteenth centuries. Indigenous Peoples captured the fort there during both the 1763 uprising and the War of 1812.
nativistic movements: Organized and conscious efforts by members of a community to revitalize traditional beliefs and customs to cope with settler invasions of their lands and assimilationist pressures on their way of life.
Neolin: Mid-seventeenth-century Lenni Lenape prophet who urged Indigenous people to avoid contact with newcomers and to return to their traditional values. His teachings influenced Obwaandi’eyaag (Pontiac). Neolin was one of two men referred to as the “Delaware Prophet.”
Obwaandi’eyaag: (1712/1725–69) Odaawa war chief, in English known as Pontiac, who attempted to unite First Nations to resist European settlement in the Great Lakes area. Later, when he tried to wield European-style autocratic authority, some among his coalition turned against him, and he was assassinated by an Irenweewa at Cahokia.
Obwaandi’eyaag’s Resistance: (Pontiac’s Resistance, 1763) A large multi-national coalition of tribes and confederacies who pushed back on British assertions that Indigenous allies of the French had been defeated when the French were defeated such that their lands and sovereignty were forfeit. The coalition was able to take all but three forts in the Great Lakes region, and the British government responded with the Royal Proclamation, which stated that all lands west of the Appalachian mountains were reserved for Indigenous Peoples, and that only the Crown had the right to purchase these lands from Indigenous nations.
Peace of Paris: (1783) Treaty that ended the Revolutionary War with the recognition of the United States as an independent nation. The negotiations took place without any Indigenous leaders present despite their important support as allies on both sides of the conflict. The British did propose an Indigenous nation north and west of the Ohio River which the Americans flatly rejected.
Proclamation of 1763: Proclamation by England declaring a British system of government for North American land surrendered by France but also declaring land not under European settlement as land reserved for Indigenous Peoples, which set the stage for later land surrenders by treaty.
Quebec Act of 1774: British legislation that defined the boundaries of Quebec as extending south to the Ohio Valley, recognized the Roman Catholic Church in the region, and established French civil law as the basis for business and other day-to-day transactions. To Americans, it became known as one of the “Intolerable Acts” that led to the War of Independence.
Rupert’s Land Transfer: The transfer of 3.9 million square kilometres of land in North America known as Rupert’s Land from the authority of the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) to the Dominion of Canada in 1870 for $1.5 million without consultation with Indigenous or Métis residents of the territory.
Seven Years’ War: (North America: 1754–60, Europe: 1756–63) The first of the eighteenth-century conflicts involving France and England that began in North America rather than Europe which resulted in France withdrawing its political and military presence from North America. The agreements made at the end of the war to prevent conflict with Indigenous nations led in part to the War of American Independence.
Thayendanegea: (Joseph Brant, 1742–1807) Kanien’keha:ka war chief, a spokesman for his people, and British military officer during the US War of Independence. Brant is credited with persuading the Kanien’keha:ka to support the British during the war unlike their younger brothers, the Onyota’aka, who chose to support the Americans. Brantford, Ontario, is named after him.
Treaty of Easton: (1758) A treaty made during the Seven Years’ War between British colonial officials and more than 500 Indigenous leaders representing at least 15 nations, including the nations of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, Lenni Lenape, and Shaawanwaki. The agreement established the Allegheny mountains as a firm boundary between British settlement and Indigenous people in return for which Indigenous people would no longer support the French at Fort Duquesne and would allow British forces to travel through their lands. The agreement was key to British capture of Fort Duquesne, a key turning point in the war. However, the British quickly forgot the terms of the agreement, leading to Obwaandi’eyaag’s Resistance and the Royal Proclamation in 1763.