When Europeans arrived, the way First Nations people had been living for thousands of years began to change. The change would be irreversible.
The European settlers treated Canada as a British colony. They tried to (and eventually succeeded) in taking control of the First Nations territory and brought in their own systems of law, government, and religion. This process is called colonization.
The way of life for First Nations people began to change when settlers arrived.
The relationships between the first settlers (fur traders mainly) and the First Nations people were generally good. Land was shared for hunting and trading. Unfortunately, this did not last. The treaties, Indian Act and other government actions that were put into place during this time were devastating to First Nations people.
Finding food was becoming very difficult. There were not as many animals to hunt and the native plants were being cultivated. It was also not easy for First Nations people to leave the reserves due to The Pass System.
The Pass System was a government-monitored and controlled system where Indigenous people would have to ask an Indian Agent for permission to leave or return to their reserve. Because of this restriction of movement, Indigenous people had less access to food.
First Nations people found it harder to hunt and gather food when they had to worry about other groups such as other tribes, newcomers, military, and illegal whiskey sellers who came from the United States. When First Nations people did get permission to leave the reserve to hunt, they often had to cross traditional hunting grounds of other First Nations or land that newcomers were now on. This resulted in disputes and fights.
The Cree, Assiniboine, and Saulteaux formed large hunting parties and entered enemy Blackfoot territory in force.
Before treaty agreements, some of the early settlers began to break the land. Traditional lands and plants that First Nations people depended on were destroyed due to the cultivation of soil and the building of towns. The settlers changed the environment and, in the view of First Nations people, acted with no respect for the land and the animals. Animal habitats were destroyed to make way for railways, roads, farms, towns, and logging. Wildlife became harder to find, trap, and hunt. The two worldviews were clashing.