We are on Treaty land
- “We would like to acknowledge that we are currently on Treaty # __ territory.”
- Have you heard this sentence before?
- Have you ever wondered why this is done? What does it mean?
What is a Treaty?
- A Treaty is an agreement.
- First Nations Treaties are “negotiated agreements”.
- “They clearly spell out rights, responsibilities, relationships of First Nations and the federal and provincial governments” (TRCM).
- Treaties are important contracts.
- Treaties were made to make relationships stronger.
- First Nations Treaties were about sharing of land, resources, and coexistence in exchange for assurances.
- Assurances mean promises. Examples of assurances in Treaties:
They are “an enduring relationship of mutual obligation”.Treaties meant peaceful coexistence between First Nations and non-First Nation people.They have been negotiated in Canada between First Nations and the British Crown since 1701. It has been continued in pre-and post-Confederation periods.The Canadian government acknowledges 70 historic and 24 modern-day Treaties.These are important building blocks of the nation.We recognize the importance of Treaties when we say that a place is Treaty land.It is a sign of respect for the original people of the land. They were here even before the nation of Canada was formed.
- Continuous yearly pensions. A reminder of the agreement made between the two historic Treaty partners (First Nations peoples and the Crown as represented by Canada)
- Continued right for First Nations to practice their traditional livelihoods. These are hunting, fishing, trapping and gathering
- Canadians have rights to settle and make a living on the land
(TRCM/CTV Vignette: Share the Land)
Why should you learn about Treaties?
- “We are all Treaty people”.
- Treaties do not involve only the First Nations and the government. You are part of it.
- Every Canadian has Treaty rights. If you own property or plan on owning property in Canada, you are exercising a right that goes back to the very first signed Treaties.
- Newcomers must learn about Treaties. It helps us know more about Canada.
- We will come to understand the relationship between the First Nations peoples and the government.
- It is a big part in understanding how the country was formed.
Why are Treaties still relevant today?
- Treaties continue to be part of the future relationships between the First Nations and the government.
- “The essence of the Treaty was to create a nation together that will exist in perpetuity, for as long as the sun shines, the grass grows, the waters flow”. (Michael Anderson, Research Director).
- They are the basis for nation-building. Treaties ensure that everyone enjoys its benefits while observing mutual rights and responsibilities.
- There are new Treaties being made in Canada today.
- These concern First Nations traditional territories that were not included in the Treaty-making process. These show First Nations peoples’ choice at the time to not be part of the Treaty process.
- Newcomers to Canada need to know the current concerns about First Nations Peoples rights.
- Understanding Treaties will:
- help us become more aware of economic and societal issues that First Nations people are facing.
- prevent us from making quick judgments or forming biases.
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Want to learn more about Treaties? Go the Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba site. Check out their:
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