Boarding schools are established for Indian youth

Schools established by the Récollets, a French order in New France, and later the Jesuits and the female order the Ursulines. This form of schooling lasts until the 1680s.


Early church schools are run by Protestants, Catholics, Anglicans and Methodists


Egerton Ryerson produces a study of native education at the request of the Assistant Superintendent General of Indian Affairs

His findings become the model for future Indian residential schools. Ryerson recommends that domestic education and religious instruction is the best model for the Indian population. Ryerson’s proposed solution, which he outlined in an 1847 letter, was to set up what he called industrial or manual schools aimed at teaching native children how to become farm labourers.


Indian Affairs is transferred from the Imperial Government to the Province of Canada

This is after the Imperial Government shifts its policy from fostering the autonomy of native populations through industry to assimilating them through education.


Dominion of Canada is formed


Purchase of ‘Rupert’s Land’ from Hudson Bay Company by the recently established Dominion of Canada for $1.5-million

It is the largest real estate transaction (by land area) in the country’s history. The purchase of Rupert’s Land transforms Canada geographically. It changes from a modest country in the northeast of the continent into an expansive one that reaches across North America. Rupert’s Land is eventually divided among Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and the Northwest Territories.


BC enters confederation and is promised a transcontinental railway connecting the Dominion from Sea to Sea


Numbered Treaties 1 to 7 signed to solidify Canada’s claim to lands north of the United States–Canada border

The treaties enable the construction of a national railway and open the lands of the North-West Territories to agricultural settlement. In order to construct the railway and encourage future settlement, the government considered it necessary to extinguish Aboriginal title to the land.


Starvation of the plains people by the Canadian state to make way for the railways begins

Government mounts a systematic policy of marginalizing the indigenous population and forcing them off their land, through violence and forced starvation. In only five years between 1880 and 1885, the population of Plains First Nations dropped from 32,000 to 20,000, according to analysis by the Cree-Saulteaux academic Blair Stonechild.

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The Dominion Lands Act received royal assent

It allows for lands in Western Canada to be granted to individuals, colonization companies, the Hudson’s Bay Company, railway construction, municipalities and religious groups. The Act includes homestead policies to encourage settlement in the West. Some 1.25 million homesteads are made available over an expanse of about 80 million hectares — the largest survey grid in the world. From 1870 to 1930, roughly 625,000 land patents are issued to homesteaders. As a result, hundreds of thousands of settlers pour into the region.


John A Macdonald is forced to resign over “Pacific Scandal” over CPR contract.

Competition for the lucrative contract for the railway was bitter, and in 1872, shipping magnate and railway promoter Sir Hugh Allan was awarded the charter. However, Allan had also contributed around $350,000 to the Conservative party’s election campaign — when this becomes public knowledge in 1873, Sir John A. Macdonald 's government is forced to resign.


Indian Act is passed


Treaty 7 is hurriedly negotiated to defuse an increasingly tense situation in Southern Alberta caused by armed conflict just south of the US border

Within two years, the bison are gone, and the indigenous people are resettled onto small, remote reservations that they are forbidden to leave, even to work on private farms as labourers.


Macdonald returns to power as Prime Minister with the completion of the railway as one facet of his National Policy


The Davin Report is presented in Ottawa

The Davin Report is presented in Ottawa. Nicholas Flood Davin was asked by John A. Macdonald to write a report on the structure of the residential schools in America and how to implement this model in the new dominion. This report precipitates the formation of residential schools in Canada. Officially the report was title, Report on Industrial Schools for Indians and Half-Breeds (but is now known as the Davin Report).

Danvin's recommendations in this report led to the creation of government-funded Residential schools in Canada. For More information:


The government begins to establish residential schools across Canada

Boarding schools are established for Indian youth Residential school

Residential schooling quickly became a central element in the federal government’s Aboriginal policy in conjunction with other federal assimilation policies.


Southerly CPR route through Kicking Horse Pass is confirmed

Railway construction begins through the rock and muskeg of the Canadian Shield begins.


Indian agent Thomas Quinn’s cruel April Fools joke

Indian agent Thomas Quinn’s cruel April Fools joke

Quinn gathers his emaciated Cree charges in front of the on-reserve ration house, before declaring them the victims of an April Fool’s joke and turning them away with nothing.


The Frog Lake Massacre

The Frog Lake Massacre

Cree chief Big Bear’s young warriors and war chief, Wandering Spirit, seize the settlement at Frog Lake to collect arms, ammunition and food. Indian Agent Thomas Quinn refuses the attackers’ orders to leave, and war chief Wandering Spirit responds by shooting him dead. Eight more unarmed settlers are killed in the frenzy that followed and about 70 others are taken prisoner, with the settlement being burned to the ground.

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Potlatch Ban is added to Indian Act


Completion of the CPR from Montreal to Port Moody