Indigenous Reserves

Many countries relocated indigenous peoples to make room for the settlement of newcomers. Canada and the United States created “reserves” and “reservations,” respectively, for this purpose. Because of their unique histories, and legal and political status, reserves and reservations differ from their surrounding territories. They are reminders of First Nations’ and Native Americans’ original ownership of the land in these two countries and the colonial processes that dispossessed them of their lands. Reserves and reservations continue to be culturally important communities for many First Nations and Native American peoples. This entry describes some characteristics and histories of reserves and reservations, pointing out similarities and differences between the two countries.

In Canada, Indian reserves are defined under the Indian Act (1976) as tracts of land set aside ...

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