After the War of 1812, Britain, no longer in need of Indigenous allies, began to treat the Indian nations as subjects of the Crown. The colonial administrators paid lip service to the 1763 Royal Proclamation by continuing to acquire land for settlement through treaties with their native owners. But the purpose of making treaties was not to establish a continuing relationship of mutual help and the sharing of the country, but to pave the way for British settlers by isolating groups of Indians on tiny reserves, denying them the possibility of carrying out their traditional economy or the opportunity to participate in the new economy on the off-reserve lands they were considered to have “surrendered.” The policy behind this approach became clear when the United Colony of Canada passed the Gradual Civilization Act in 1857. Indians were now to be confined to reserves until sufficiently civilized to be “emancipated” from their Indian status and assimilated into mainstream society.
Russell, Peter. Canada’s Odyssey: A Country Based on Incomplete Conquests. University of Toronto Press, 2017. p. 8