2017 is the 150 th anniversary of the passage of the British North America Act (now known as the Constitution Act, 1867 ) which united two British colonies in the Maritimes with the colony of Canada. The dominant story of Confederation begins with a meeting of colonial delegates in Charlottetown, PEI in September of 1864, originally to discuss the union of the Maritime colonies; this meeting was followed by a conference in Quebec City in October of 1864 and a meeting of colonial delegates with British officials in London in December of 1866. In the dominant story, Canadian Confederation is the 150-year-old creation of a number of white, male delegates of the colonies and white, male British government officials.
The 150 th anniversary of the legal creation of the political community we know as Canada is certainly worthy of celebration, but Canadian Confederation is neither merely 150 years old nor is it solely the creation of white colonists. The roots of Confederation rest in the nourishing soil of Indigenous political traditions of confederacies, including the Wabanaki Confederacy, and were fed by the tradition of treaty-making between Indigenous nations and the British Crown. The Peace and Friendship Treaties between the British Crown and the nations of the Wabanaki Confederacy were among the earliest of these treaties. As well, despite the efforts of federal governments since Confederation to make Indigenous peoples invisible in Canada’s political community through assimilationist policies, the resilience of Indigenous peoples has meant that Indigenous political traditions continue to influence the evolution of the Canadian political community today.