NDN reserves are most curious. Fairly or unfairly they are the last parcels of land granted to and owned by the original peoples of this continent. They are the refuge of racist segregation policy. This is not necessarily unwelcome by NDN or white man.
The racism flows both ways. Facilitated by the Rez, for white man it keeps NDN's out of sight and out of mind. For NDN's the Rez can be a cesspool brewing up steep potent hatred.
That is not to say there is not progress. At least in Canada most Rez are self-governing and self determining. Admittedly this is to varying degrees, but there are moves towards more and greater independence.
Since first contact in 1492, Europeans sought to colonize and settle in the New World. Of course you know in many instances this conflicted with the native populations and so different solutions were used. Obviously the methods of warring slaughter was practically genocidal purging. Much of Canada's history, the solution was simply capitalism, where they were independent contractors supplying furs.
By comparison to genocide, the kinder and gentler method of treaty seems almost respectful. Although the word treaty is a bit of a suspect terminology. Treaty assumes negotiation done in good faith. We know how treaties should work, even at the end of a war. There are countless examples. Fair to say we know who lost the war, even as NDN treaties rarely acknowledges that it was ever fought.
The first Indian Rez was declared during the Treaty of Paris 1763. This was a huge tract of land from Florida on north, west of the 13 colonies, east of the Mississippi and south of waters draining into Hudson Bay. Settlers in this land were ordered to leave or get permission from the local tribes to stay. Obviously things changed through history and the Rez became smaller and smaller.
Wikwemikong was an early Rez granted in 1836. 14 years later they sold off most of their land for a lump sum and annual payment. But they were tricked, not quite understanding they would no longer be welcome to hunt and fish on lands they had always been on. The British concept of ownership of territory was not fully understood by NDN's at time of the signing.
The negotiation of treaty with NDN people's have not changed much in all these centuries. Local to me, the City of Calgary has been trying to build a ring road, a highway that will encircle the city. Trouble has been that the city borders with Tsuu T'ina nation. The City has been trying for over a decade to purchase or lease some land in order to build this highway. Finally in 2008 the City worked out a deal with Tsuu T'ina chief and council. Hands were shook. As a simple formality the matter was voted on by NDN's living in Tsuu T'ina. This is when all went kaput.
Tsuu T'ina NDN's didn't like one little sticky part of the deal; the exact dollar amount Calgary would give Tsuu T'ina was to be negotiated in a few years. NDN's had seen this kind of deal before and didn't like it. It's simply bad business to offer to buy something for price to be determined later in a few years, let alone sell. I suppose this might happen in certain business dealing I don't understand, but it reeks of opportunism. More then simply taking advantage, it suggests they felt they had some sort of right, that Tsuu T'ina was somehow inferior.
Calgary City Hall was miffed about the failed deal. They decided to play hardball. Due to some road construction project City Hall informed Tsuu T'ina they would have to close the access road to Tsuu T'ina... right by their casino. Tsuu T'na leaked this to the press, to which City Hall clarified they couldn't guarantee the road would remain open, before fully recanting and having the construction done in such a way as to not block access into the Rez.
At this time, City Hall won't make an offer for the land they want for the highway and so the Tsuu T'ina won't grant them the land. It is a stalemate. It is a curious thing. But NDN history seems full of curious things.