Timeline of events related to relationships between governments in North America and Indigenous Nations.

The period between 1763 and 1900 contains many significant events that continue to affect relationships between settler society and Indigenous Peoples in North America. While there were certainly more acts passed by the Canadian and US governments and more armed conflicts that ended with the expulsion of Indigenous Peoples from their lands, the events identified below represent some of the major acts as well as localized conflicts that led eventually to the settlement of Ole Madland in the United States and then Canada.

  • October, 1763

    The Royal Proclamation 0f 1763

    Royal Proclamation of 1763

    The Royal Proclamation of 1763 is a foundational document in the ongoing relationship between the Indigenous Peoples of North America, the colonial powers (primarily Britain, France, and Spain), and the resultant colonial governments (Canada and the United States).

    In short, the Proclamation by King George III divided up the Atlantic coast of North America into four new colonies (Quebec, East Florida, West Florida, and Grenada). It specifies the boundaries of these colonies and specifically sets aside the land west of the "Proclamation Line" to be for Indigenous Peoples. White settlers were not permitted to settle west of the line. It also specifies that land could only be purchased from the British Crown after it had been ceded by Indigenous nations. Indigenous people consider the Proclamation to be the first Aboriginal Charter of Rights because it so clearly specifies the same (Fenge & Aldrige, 2015).

    Map of territorial growth 1775

  • May 1825

    The Sloopers

    Some of the first Norwegian immigrants (aside from the Vikings) travelled to North America in 1825 on a 'Sloop' called 'Restoration' to escape poverty and religious persecution in Norway (Rosdail, 1961).

    The Sloopers - pioneers in Norwegian emigration

  • May 1830

    Indian Removal Act

    "An act to provide for an exchange of lands with the Indians residing in any of the states or territories, and for their removal west of the river Mississippi" (1830).

    The Indian Removal Act in the United States was voted into law during the tenure of President Andrew Jackson. It provided the legal backing for the forced removal of Indigenous Peoples from the land and their relocation. While some nations resisted, they were eventually forced out by the military. Their relocation has become known as the Trail of Tears during which an estimated 4000 Cherokee died (“Introduction—Indian Removal Act: Primary Documents in American History—Research Guides at Library of Congress,” n.d.).

  • May 1862

    Homestead Act

    The Homestead Act of 1862, the first of several of its kind, was passed in order to encourage the settlement of the west. Settlers were given 160 acres of stolen Indigenous land in exchange for a small fee and a promise to live on and improve the land by farming.


    A photographer took this picture of John and Marget Bakken and their two children, Tilda and Eddie, in front of their sod house in Milton in 1898. John Bakken was the son of Norwegian immigrants, who homesteaded and built a sod house in Milton in 1896. Description from uncopyrighted webpage http://www.lib.ndsu.nodak.edu/ndirs/exhibitions/pioneer/camera/sod.htm

  • August 1862

    Dakota War of 1862

    While the Indian Removal Act of 1830 laid the foundation for Indigenous genocide, there were many subsequent conflicts between Indigenous Peoples trying to defend themselves and the US Military. The Dakota War of 1862 is an example where the Dakota nation (also known as Sioux) were forced into desperation by the unjust treaty violations by the US government leading to the Dakota not having enough food and going hungry. They responded by attacking settlers in the area, killing some and driving many away. This ultimately led to the largest mass execution in US history where 38 Dakota men were publicly hanged in Mankato, Minnesota.

    I include this event because it was only about 30 years prior to the arrival of Ole Madland to the exact same land that was stolen from the Dakota. As far as I can tell, Ole did not stay in this area for long and did not own any land.

    ‎Scene on Radio: Little War on the Prairie (Seeing White, Part 5) Rebroadcast on Apple Podcasts

  • July 1867

    Canadian Confederation

    The creation of the Dominion of Canada was, obviously, an important event in the history of relations between Indigenous Peoples in North America and the new government of Canada. Confederation meant that Canada was now responsible for negotiating treaties with Indigenous Peoples. However, as is common in Canadian history, the role of Indigenous people and the impacts upon them in confederation is often erased. This can be seen clearly in the Wikipedia article on Canadian Confederation, linked below.

    Canadian Confederation

    The article is thoroughly sourced and cites almost 100 sources, but there is only a very short paragraph at the very end of the article that mentions anything about Indigenous Peoples. That paragraph begins with the sentence "Indigenous communities were absent or ignored in the process of Canadian confederation" (“Canadian Confederation—Wikipedia,” n.d.).

  • August 1871

    Numbered Treaties

    Between 1871 and 1921, the fledgling government of Canada negotiated a series of treaties with Indigenous Peoples in order to secure land for settlement and resource extraction. In all, eleven treaties were signed covering land in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, northern Ontario, parts of Yukon, and the Northwest Territory. The goal of the Government was to enable the assimilation of Indigenous Peoples into white Canadian society by 'encouraging' them to take up sedentary, agrarian lifestyles (Whitehouse, 2008).

    These treaties were signed while the Indigenous People were experiencing significant hardship from smallpox, tuberculosis, and hunger due to bison being over-hunted. Indigenous people were desperate for assistance and thought that signing the treaties would be the best way to secure a future for their children and grand children.


  • April 1872

    Dominion Lands Act

    The Dominion Lands Act in Canada was designed based on the Homestead Act in the United States and was passed to encourage the settlement of the west. Similar to the US law, the Dominion Lands Act provided 160 acres of stolen Indigenous land for a small registration fee and a promise to live on and improve the land. The Act encouraged any head of household or person over 21 years of age to apply for a homestead. Successful applicants had 3 years to prove that they had improved the land.

    Richtik (1975) argues that the Dominion Lands Acts was designed specifically to encourage settlers to choose Canada over the United States.

  • August 1876

    Indian Act

    "The great aim of our legislation has been to do away with the tribal system and assimilate the Indian people in all respects with the other inhabitants of the Dominion as speedily as they are fit to change."

    John A Macdonald, 1887

    The Indian Act was intended to be a temporary measure when it was enacted in 1876 because it was thought that it would lead to the assimilation of Indigenous Peoples into white Canadian society. Essentially, it would completely eliminate Indigenous Peoples from Canada. The Act, which is still in effect today, dicates in minute detail who is and is not a 'Status Indian', how a person can 'lose' their status (a process called 'enfranchisement'), and how Indigenous people were to be educated (Leslie, 2002).

    The Indian Act and its many revisions led to the establishment of Indian Residential Schools and their devastating legacy.

  • August 1876

    Treaty 6

    Treaty 6, one of the Numbered Treaties, was negotiated in 1876 and took several years to be fully ratified. I include mention here because Treaty 6 was negotiated only 20 years before Ole Madland emigrated from Norway, and it covers the land where he settled once he arrived in Canada in 1923.

  • August 1877

    Ole Madland Born

    My great grandfather, Ole Andreas Rasmussen Madland was born in Madland, Gjesdal, Norway.

  • 1896

    Ole Madland Emigrates to North Dakota via Minnesota

    My great grandfather, Ole emigrates from Norway to North Dakota, USA.

    My father recalls that Ole arrived in New York and made his way to North Dakota. It seems he spent some time as a boarder on a farm in Minnesota until at least 1900.

    12th US Census (1900) with a record of Ole Madland living in Minnesota.