There are more than 630 First Nations communities in Canada, representing more than 50 nations and 50 indigenous languages. As a result, the size of many First Nations' reserve lands declined significantly and many First Nations were forced to relocate their reserve land to more isolated districts. It consists of three non-adjoining plots of land totaling 1,054 ha (2,600 acres) within the Chippewas of the First Nation 42 of the Thames, near Muncey, Ontario, which were formerly shared by them and the Chippewas of the First Nation of the Thames as a single parcel of land. Revenues from reserves that do so are held in trust by Canada's Minister of Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs.
The First Nations population is growing at a much faster rate than the non-indigenous population. It includes a variety of social and economic statistics on First Nations people living on and off reservations and includes comparisons with the non-indigenous population. The reservation system, as governed by Indian Law, refers to First Nations bands and individuals, referred to as Indians in a legal context. In these treaties, the First Nations preserved the right to continue using the entirety of the ceded territory for hunting, fishing and capturing.
Many First Nations own more than one parcel of reserve land, and some reserves are shared by more than one First Nation. Two of the largest reserves of band members in Canada are the Six Nations of the Grand River, near Brantford, Ontario, and the Akwesasne Mohawks, who live near Cornwall, Ontario, in territory that extends on both sides of the borders of Ontario, Quebec and New York. Many First Nations peoples choose not to live on reservations because of the typical remoteness of the reserves and the related challenges in accessing various public services and obtaining employment. Treaty 1 was a controversial agreement established on August 3, 1871 between Queen Victoria and several native nations in southeastern Manitoba, including the Anishinaabe tribes and swampy crees.
In 2003, the Department of Indigenous and Northern Affairs stated that there were 2,300 reserves in Canada, comprising 28,000 km2 (11,000 square miles). Reserves should not be confused with traditional territories, which were lands used and occupied by First Nations before the arrival of Europeans. While conditions are improving, the First Nations on the reserve are still living below the level of the Canadian population. The Assabaska reserve in Ontario, for example, is used by both Big Grassy First Nation and the Ojibways of Onigaming First Nation.
Between 1871 and 1921, through numbered treaties with the First Nations, the Canadian government won large tracts of land for settlers and industry in northwestern Ontario, northern Canada and the prairies.