Indigenous peoples in North America have complex histories that precede and overlap European contact and colonization. Each First Nation, Inuit and Métis community has an experience that is unique to them.
The purpose of these timelines is to provide a graphic representation of the achievements, conflicts and key points in Indigenous peoples’ histories.
A timeline helps students to understand the historical experiences of Indigenous peoples, and to inform the present. These timelines highlight the collective experiences of First Nations, Métis and Inuit, their encounters with colonization and colonialism, their existence since time immemorial and their ongoing resilience.
Certain timelines follow a pre-contact history, using archaeological and anthropological research; however, many First Nations use oral history and storytelling to explain their history. These timelines, therefore, are generalized and should be used to create an understanding of a broad, collective history. These are great places to begin.
National Timelines: Common Shared Histories from Throughout Canada
- Key Moments in Indigenous History
Though not exhaustive, Historica Canada presents a well-rounded history of this land. It explains the cultural ties that Indigenous nations have had to this land since time immemorial. Through an Indigenous lens, the timeline presents archaeological data and historical events that demonstrate First Nations and Canada’s shared history.
- Timeline of First Nations Self-Governance
National Centre for First Nations Governance
This document provides a timeline of First Nations Self-Governance. It begins with pre-contact organization and traditional governance. It then follows with the history of Treaties, colonial influence through Confederation and the Indian Act, and contemporary self-governance.
- History of Residential Schools in Canada
National Commission on Truth and Reconciliation
This timeline presents an outline of the historical, legal and political proceedings of Indian Residential Schools in Canada. It includes mention of the Indian Act’s introduction and its amendments.
- Timeline on Residential Schools and Education in Canada
This timeline presents an overview of the history of Residential Schools in Canada.
- Timeline on Indigenous Suffrage
The Canadian Encyclopedia
This timeline follows Suffrage “(the right to vote) for Indigenous peoples across Canada. Provincial agreements occurred separate from a federal decision to allow Indigenous people to vote in elections without enfranchisement. This timeline also includes First Nations people’s involvement in political positions.
- History of Treaties in Canada
This education guide provides an overview of Treaty making, and their historical and ongoing importance. It also includes learning activities for educators.
Regional Timelines: A Sample From Regions Throughout Canada
- Indigenous Historical Timeline in British Columbia
Union of BC Indian Chiefs
This expansive historical timeline outlines historical events in Canada from the 1700s to present day.
- Timeline History of Aboriginal Peoples
in British Columbia
BC Teacher’s Federation
The BC Teacher’s Federation presents selected events important to the history of Indigenous peoples in British Columbia.
- Timeline of Indigenous History in Alberta
Alberta Teachers Association
“This timeline follows Indigenous nations living in what is now Alberta from pre-Confederation to the 2016.