Topic – Indigenous Peoples and Self-Government

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Indigenous Peoples and Self-Government

Thayendanegea, Mohawk Chief from the 1700s

Did you know that before Canada existed, Indigenous communities had their own forms of government? For example, the Iroquois (now Haudenosaunee) lived in areas that would later become parts of Eastern Canada and the United States. There were many groups of Iroquois. Around 1450 to 1660 CE, five Iroquois nations joined together to form a larger group called a confederacy. These nations were the Mohawk, Oneida, Onodaga, Seneca, and Cayuga peoples. The Tuscarora people joined the confederacy in 1722. The confederacy formed by these nations is very similar to the style of federal government that Canada has today. Today, Indigenous peoples want to be part of Canada, but they would like to make their own decisions about their lives. They had self-government before the Europeans came to Canada and want to have it again.

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